BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Now the longest tenured coach of Cleveland's three professional teams, Eric Mangini understands Mike Brown's pain.
Mangini, who kept his job following a 5-11 record in his first season with the Browns, has empathy for Brown, the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach fired earlier this week despite winning more than 140 games the past two seasons and leading his team to the NBA playoffs five straight years.
"I like Mike Brown," Mangini said Thursday in a break from the Browns' organized team activities. "I sent him a text the other day. I can relate to things he's going through. It's difficult. I hope things work out for him, I hope things work out for the Cavs as well. I like (general manager) Danny Ferry a lot. This sometimes happens, you just ideally want to see everybody move forward in a positive way."
Brown will likely land another head coaching job with one of the other five teams with vacancies. The Cavs fired him late Sunday before a deadline that would have forced the team to pay him his entire salary for next season. Instead, he'll get $2 million.
Brown has maintained a low profile since being let go. On Wednesday, he issued a statement through the Cavs in which he thanked the organization and owner Dan Gilbert — the man who fired him — for the opportunity to coach in Cleveland. He did not offer any clues about his plans.
Mangini was fired after three seasons with the New York Jets. He nearly lost his job with the Browns, but was brought back by new president Mike Holmgren, who feels any coach deserves more than one season to turn a team around.
And, as Mangini has learned, it's not easy to coach in Cleveland, a city that hasn't celebrated a sports championship since the Browns won it all in 1964.
Mangini was asked if it was tougher to coach in Cleveland because of the title drought.
"Tougher to coach in this town?" he said, pausing before smiling. "It's a passionate town. You get it though. You understand and you appreciate it. Believe me, you're consumed with trying to achieve what we all want to achieve; it would be amazing and fantastic and deserved."