Shawn Mennenga, pronounced MEN-in-guh, completed his sixth season as Browns special teams assistant coach in 2016 after being named to the position on Feb. 14, 2011.
In 2016, the Browns signed Britton Colquitt just prior to the beginning of the season. Coordinator, Chris Tabor, and Mennenga combined Colquitt's abilities with their punt coverage unit and scheme to set a franchise record for NET punting average in a season at 40.3 yards. In week 16, DL Jamie Meder won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his block of a game-tying field goal attempt by the Chargers with 3:45 left.
Since Mennenga’s arrival in 2011, through the 2015 NFL season, the Browns' overall Special Teams units rank among the best in the NFL. Over the span of those 5 seasons, their units rank and, they had 6 AFC special teams players of the week
In 2015, the Browns Special Teams units were once again the top producing unit on the team, ranking #1 in the NFL in net punting average against; #3 in gross punting average against; #4 in punt return average; #4 punt returner in NFL; #5 in total return yards; and #5 in kickoff return yards.
In 2014, Mennenga assisted a special teams unit that finished second in the NFL in opposing field position on kickoffs, including 16 stops inside the 20. The Browns turned away four kicks (two punts and two field goals) and finished eighth in the NFL in punt coverage. The Browns also registered their first blocked punt since 2003, which resulted in a safety and helped lift the team to a record-setting comeback at Tennessee on Oct. 5.
In 2013, K Billy Cundiff set a franchise record with 62 touchbacks on kickoffs. In addition, Travis Benjamin set a team record with 179 punt-return yards against Buffalo on Oct. 3.
In 2012, K Phil Dawson and KR Joshua Cribbs were both selected to the Pro Bowl, marking just the second time in team history that two specialists made the annual all-star game in the same year (2008, Cribbs and LS Ryan Pontbriand). The Pro Bowl selection was the first of Dawson’s 14-year career. His 93.5 (29 of 31) field goal percentage clip led the AFC and was a career best. Dawson’s seven field goals from 50 yards or longer tied for the second-most in the NFL in 2012. Cribbs finished fourth in the NFL in kickoff return average (27.4) and sixth in punt-return average (12.0). In addition, Johnson Bademosi led all rookies and finished tied for third in the NFL with 18 special-teams tackles en route to being named the PFW/PFWA All-Rookie special teams player.
As a team, the Browns led the NFL with nine punt returns of 20 yards or longer in 2012, including rookie Travis Benjamin’s team record 93-yard return against Kansas City (12/9/12). The Browns also led the league in the league in opponents’ average starting position after kickoffs (19.9) and were second in the NFL in opponents’ kickoff return average (19.8).
Prior to joining the Browns, Mennenga spent the 2009-10 seasons as the linebackers coach at South Dakota State University. In 2009, the Jackrabbits’ defense ranked in the top 20 nationally in four categories, including pass efficiency (4th – 99.55), rushing defense (14th – 104.3 ypg), points per game allowed (16th – 17.4) and total defense (17th – 289.5 ypg).
Before joining South Dakota State’s staff, Mennenga spent four seasons (2005-08) as the defensive coordinator at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. He spent the previous four years at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, where he served one season as the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator (2001) and the final three as the team’s head coach (2002-04).
During his collegiate coaching career, he has also held assistant positions at Hutchinson Community College (defensive coordinator – 1998-2000), Western Kentucky University (outside linebackers – 1997) and Southwest Baptist University (1995-96 – secondary; 1994 – graduate assistant).