BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Alec Scheiner has been named the new president of the Cleveland Browns.
Scheiner, 39, will join Cleveland after eight years with the Cowboys. He was senior vice president and general counsel with Dallas the last five years.
Scheiner will quarterback the Browns’ day-to-day business operations in his new post, which will begin Jan. 7, and will focus on improving the team’s gameday atmosphere at home games.
“We really want to enhance the fan experience everywhere. Wherever we can,” he said. “We have a challenge, and we will work hard on it.
“We want to create something that links us to the past, and to the community.”
Scheiner, raised in Lower Merion, Pa., attended Georgetown, and in 2008, took over the Cowboys’ business operations, which included football analytics. He was a key cog in the fan experience at highly regarded Cowboys Stadium, which opened on May 27, 2009, and hosted the Super Bowl on Feb. 6, 2011.
“I want to thank the Cowboys for making my eight years there some of the most rewarding of my professional career,” Scheiner said. “I am looking forward to this challenge with the Browns, which I view as a tremendous opportunity to start at the ground level with a new and exciting leadership group.”
Jimmy Haslam, who bought the team over the summer, leads that group, which also includes new CEO Joe Banner.
“Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner have a great vision of what they want the Cleveland Browns to become and I am grateful to be able to be a part of it,” Scheiner said. “The Browns are an iconic franchise with an outstanding fan base and tradition. Together, we hope to do incredible things for the organization.”
Whether or not the coach will be with them — as that long-term vision plays out — remains to be seen. Cleveland began the season 0-5 under Pat Shurmur, who is in his season year. The Browns have persevered, though, and actually orchestrated a three-game winning streak late in the year. But they are still just 5-9 and in last place of the AFC North with two difficult games approaching — Denver (11-3) and Pittsburgh (7-7) — to end the season.
“We have not made decisions, but obviously, as time has gone on, we have thought about it more,” said Banner, who said staffing decisions will be made “quickly” after the season finale. “But we’re not at the point where we’ve made definitive decisions.
“Our driving force is to gather a group of smart, effective people.”
Scheiner clearly plays into that mindset.
“For many years, the Cowboys have been a leading innovator among NFL franchises, and Alec played an integral role in this success,” Haslam said. “We are confident that his expertise will be a tremendous asset, not only for our organization but our fans as well.”
In 2010, Scheiner made the Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list.
“Our objective is to build the Browns organization with the best people in their respective fields, and we believe the hiring of Alec is indicative of this goal,” Banner said. “Alec brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in many facets with one of the most successful franchises in the NFL.”
The hire was the end of a long process for Banner, who began conversations with Scheiner over the summer just as Banner was exploring new opportunities for himself.
“Alec and I started talking last June. We had a series of meetings,” he said. “We just felt like it was a great fit. He’s going to impact the organization in a lot of ways.”
In a conference call with the media, Scheiner was asked about the Browns’ traditional ways — what with the logo-less helmets and classic uniforms. Scheiner didn’t think too many changes were needed in that realm, and he was quick to embrace the team’s tradition along the way.
“It’s more about connecting with what he have already … in more effective ways,” he said. “You can always do better.”
That said, Banner explained that Scheiner would have a say in any decisions regarding the potential modernization of the team’s look.
“He would contribute to that. He would be part of that discussion,” Banner said. “But that would be something that ultimately will be Jimmy’s decision.”
As for cheerleaders, well, Scheiner is going from a franchise that is famous for them to one that doesn’t even have them.
And, new regime or not, that appears like it’ll stay that way.
“I don’t think we’re focused on that decision,” Banner said. “It’s not something we’ve spent time on.”
—— NOTES: LB James-Michael Johnson and DB T.J. Ward were placed on injured reserve with knee injuries. Both Johnson, a rookie, and Ward are starters for a defense that allows 22.1 points per game. Johnson made eight starts, played in 10 games and finished with 35 tackles. His role expanded when Scott Fujita sustained a season-ending neck injury. Ward had 68 tackles and one interception. … The Browns are 3-0 vs. the AFC West, with the first-place Broncos on deck.