Writer's note: No official statement has been made about Ron Rivera's job status in Carolina. As of the time of this post, he is currently the Panthers head coach. Also, it should be noted that while the writer feels Rivera will remain at his position, this slideshow is a hypothetical presentation of the likely candidates to take over as head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
The Carolina Panthers started out this year as dark-horse playoff contenders with possible speculation they would win their division. However, they came out the chute and landed on their collective faces starting out at 1-6. Their record and their failure to close out the close games started a lot of grumbling about whether or not Ron Rivera was competent enough to lead the franchise.
Suddenly, Carolina started playing with a purpose and closed out their remaining schedule with a 6-3 record en route to a 7-9 finish, placing the Panthers one game ahead of last year's mark. The strong finish may have done enough to keep Rivera's job secure, but the Panthers still need to hire a general manager, and there is a possibility he may want to hire his own coach.
Potential choices like Bill Cowher, Brian Billick and Jon Gruden are not included on this list because none of them have been in serious talks with teams about filling vacancies, and if the Carolina Panthers were to put together a list of candidates, the ones out of the league would be a great place to start. For the intents and purposes of this list, only actively current coaches and assistants are featured.
Assuming the Panthers' front office wants to make a change, there are a lot of names out there who would be ideal coaching candidates to take over the reins and become the Carolina Panthers' fifth head coach. Here are the top five to consider presented in no particular order.