According to reports, the Carolina Panthers have elected to part ways with head coach, Ron Rivera. Secondary coach Perry Fewell has been named interim head coach.
The 57-year-old Rivera was fired after Sunday’s 29-21 home loss to the Washington Redskins, which extended Carolina’s losing streak to four. Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper felt that once this occurred, it was time for a change.
“There is a point where you have to try to elevate a whole organization,” Tepper said. “Without shaking the tree you can’t get any apples,” Tepper said.
The Panthers are 5-7 this season.
Tepper said Tuesday he fired Ron Rivera with a month left in the season instead of letting him play out the season, was so that he wouldn’t lose a competitive advantage in trying to find his next head coach. Instead of going behind Rivera’s back. However, it was also so that Rivera could also throw his name in other hats for teams that may be looking for a new head coach in 2020.
“I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” Tepper said. “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers.”
Rivera told the Panthers website that his time with the team were not only “great years” but he feels he got a lot accomplished during his time as coach.
“We did a lot,” Rivera said. “The people. We brought in good men, good coaches. We did things the right way.”
Rivera had been the coach of the Panthers since 2011. He’d lead the team to the Super Bowl during the 2015 season. The team went 15-1 and quarterback Cam Newton won the NFL MVP award. The organization’s winningest coach finishes his nine seasons as Carolina’s head coach with 76-63-1 regular season record and went 3-4 in the postseason during his tenure.
He also led Carolina to an NFC Championship and three NFC South titles.
Newton in an Instagram post gave his reaction to the firing and thanked Rivera for their time together.
“Will be forever grateful because of the impact you had on my life … Thank you for giving me an opportunity. Thank you for believing in me. I can go on and on but most importantly; thank you for allowing me to be me,” Newton wrote on his Instagram Stories. “This one hurt deep.”
In addition, to Fewell being named interim head coach, offensive coordinator Norv Turner will transition to special assistant to the head coach, and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive coordinator. Tepper did not fire general manager Marty Hurney, however, plans to name an assistant general manager to focus on pro personnel evaluation and a vice president of football operations.
Although it’s not a forgone conclusion that this will be a complete rebuild of the organization, this will be an evaluation to see what exactly is the team’s next move.
“We are going to take a comprehensive and thorough review of our football operation to make sure we are structured for long-term sustained success,” continued Tepper. “Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes. We will consider a wide range of football executives to complement our current football staff. One change that we will implement is hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations. We all must recognize that this is the first step in a process, but we are committed to building and maintaining a championship culture for our team and our fans.”