Ron Rivera Fired as Panthers Head Coach, Perry Fewell Named to Interim Role

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 30: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers looks on during the first half against the New Orleans Saints during a NFL game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers announced the firing of longtime head coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday following a 29-21 defeat to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.   

"I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team," owner David 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."

Secondary coach Perry Fewell will assume Rivera's duties on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found.

Rivera was hired by the Panthers in January 2011. He finishes his eight-plus seasons as coach with a 76-63-1 record in the regular season and a 3-4 mark in the playoffs.

He led the team to Super Bowl 50, where it lost to the Denver Broncos, and was named the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2015.

Last December, the 57-year-old California native discussed the need to bounce back this year following a disappointing 7-9 campaign in 2018 after winning 11 games in 2017.

"We will focus on moving forward," Rivera told reporters. "We have to grow, we have to adapt, we have to learn. And if you don't, the truth of the matter is you become extinct."

The Panthers overcame the loss of quarterback Cam Newton to reach 4-2 with backup Kyle Allen, but their 2019 season fell apart during the second half of the campaign, lowlighted by their current four-game losing streak.

Now the franchise has opted to go in a new direction.

Meanwhile, it might not take long for Rivera to generate interest from elsewhere with his strong track record in Carolina and 14 years of experience as an assistant, including three seasons apiece as defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears (2004-06) and San Diego Chargers (2008-10).