Panthers coach Ron Rivera to return for 2013 season
"He's going about normal preparations for next season," confirmed Carolina Panthers spokesperson Charlie Dayton later on Saturday.
However, Ron Rivera’s future with the team was suspended amid uncertainties ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Jerry Richardson. Ron Rivera received an early warning in October when Jerry Richardson fired general manager Marty Hurney following the Carolina Panthers’ 1-5 start this season. Jerry Richardson expressed that he wanted to see the team “trending upwards” for the rest of the season. The situation got further serious after the Carolina Panthers further slid to a 2-8 record.
But somehow since Marty Hurney’s firing, Ron Rivera managed to lead the Carolina Panthers 6-4 towards the end of the season, including winning the final four games in a row. The Carolina Panthers ranked second in the NFC South after finishing the season on a 7-9 record.
Although Ron Rivera has been retained for the next season, it’s uncertain if he’ll return with the Carolina Panthers on the long-haul after leading the team 13-19 through the first two seasons.
"I'm very happy he's back," Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said of things returning to normal on Saturday. "Obviously the season wasn't what we were looking for…(but) I think the way we finished, winning four straight, shows a lot about the direction we're headed and our faith in him as our coach moving forward. I'm glad that things worked out."
Soon after retiring as nine-year linebacker, Ron Rivera retuned to the NFL as a Defensive Quality Control coach in Chicago, before quickly progressing to defensive coordinator in Chicago and San Diego. Ron Rivera got his first gig as an NFL head coach in 2011 with the Carolina Panthers. However, the process to land his first head coach job took Ron Rivera interviews with for nine NFL teams.
Replacing John Fox in Carolina, Ron Rivera had a comparatively better rookie head coach season, helping to project the young team’s true potential despite a 6-10 season, which featured a stellar rookie performance by quarterback Cam Newton as well. The second season was more of an uphill struggle for Ron Rivera as he desperately tried to make things work after 18 players (including five starters) landed on the injured reserve. The Carolina panthers also continued their legacy of finishing on close games under Ron Rivera. The season finale win over New Orleans Saints improved Ron Rivera’s record to 2-13 games that game down to a touchdown or less.
Still, the 2012 season also had its brighter highlights in Cam Newton’s rapid development, improvement on the defense since Luke Kuelchly was moved from outside to middle linebacker, and the big plays on in all three phases that signify the Carolina Panther’s overall growth.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers are expected to hold interviews in the coming week for general manager opening. The Carolina Panthers have already gotten permission from the New York Giants to interview college scouting director Marc Ross and senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman for the job. Carolina Panthers interim general manager Brandon Beane will also be considered for promotion to a more stable position.