Photo: Ron Rivera
Ron Rivera, who was an assistant coach for more than ten years, and was turned down by eight different teams for the head coach position, was named the head coach of the Carolina Panthers – becoming the first Latino to lead a team in 16 years in the league since Tom Flores, who won two Super Bowls. Flores hasn’t coached since 1994.
Rivera, who is 49 years old had been the defense coach for the San Diego Chargers.
Jerry Richardson, the Panthers owner reportedly conducted Rivera’s second interview for the job; he said he that while he was most concerned with his team’s offense (the worst in the league), hiring a defensive-minded coach was a good idea as long as he h counts with a strong offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“We’re putting a very high priority on the offense and that can be accomplished without having an offensive head coach,” Richardson said.
Rivera, who was a linebacker with the Bears and a member of Chicago’s Super Bowl winning team in 1985, is the son of a Puerto Rican father and a Mexican mother, his ancestry making him the first person of such heritage to play in the NFL.
“Congrats to Ron Rivera for being named Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers,” tweeted Chicago Bears cornerback Jerry Azumah, who played under Rivera, “Long overdue.”