Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Ron Rivera cut loose by skidding Carolina Panthers after nine seasons

Ron Rivera cut loose by skidding Carolina Panthers after nine seasons

According to a league source, the Panthers chose to let Rivera go before the end of the season because team owner David Tepper wanted to get ahead in the coaching search. Carolina takes a 5-7 record into its Week 14 meeting with the Atlanta Falcons. He also was the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive backs coach.

Secondary coach Perry Fewell was named interim head coach Tuesday. General manager Marty Hurney is remaining with the organization.

Interestingly, former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was also tabbed as a possible replacement for Ron Rivera. "Full stop", Tepper said. "I'm not going to disrespect anybody like that, especially a man like Ron Rivera". A year ago the team was 6-2 but lost seven straight games and finished 7-9.

The search for a new head coach will be led by an internal search committee and begin immediately.

The search for a new head coach will include internal candidates, especially Fewell, but will be a wide-ranging search. 'Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes. He sent at least a dozen tweets, some biting, but conceded that Rivera was "clearly the best coach in Panthers history". "There's reasons for that", Tepper said. And then it's how that gets implemented. Thank you for believing in me.

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Asked about his defensive pairing on Monday, the Spaniard said: "Right now it's because I like Dino in that position. This was an ambition to come here and help the club arrive in the top six.


But Tepper has owned the franchise for 18 months, and it's his prerogative to have "his" guy in the head coaching job. There will be more decisions to come in the front office as Tepper's statement says the team will be hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations. "That's what it is", Tepper said. While he certainly doesn't have the same length of resume of numerous other possible options for the role, there are a number of things on his short resume that will appeal.

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. Essentially, Riley has about as good a resume as any college coach of recent times, and the questions about him are more hesitations than anything else, but there is always going to be a risk in hiring a coach directly from the college game with no experience as a coordinator at the National Football League level.

Rivera has had to deal with seemingly non-ending injuries to franchise quarterback Cam Newton, who has only played two games this season.

But the bond he and Newton built over the years was a special one. Since Week 8, the Panthers' defense is 32nd in rushing touchdowns allowed (15) and yards per attempt (5.85). As far as Norv Turner is concerned, Tepper elected to keep him on staff as he has "great respect" for him and his knowledge.

Rivera, 57, made a name for himself as a defensive guru, beginning in his playing days for the Bears and later as a coordinator with Chicago and San Diego.

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