Ron Rivera’s run with the Panthers has come to an end.
The team announced on Tuesday that Rivera has been fired with four games left on their 2019 schedule. Defensive backs coach Perry Fewell will be the interim head coach.
“I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement. “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.”
In another move, offensive coordinator Norv Turner will become special assistant to the head coach while quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will move into his father’s former coordinator role.
The move doesn’t come as a great surprise, although many thought that the team would wait to make any changes until the end of the season. The Panthers are 5-7 and on track to miss the playoffs for a second straight year.
Tepper wouldn’t speculate on Rivera’s future a couple of weeks ago, but made it clear he wasn’t happy with how the team had been playing and two more losses, including last Sunday’s loss to Washington, likely helped push things to the breaking point. There will be more decisions to come in the front office as Tepper’s statement says the team will be hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations.
No mention is made of current General Manager Marty Hurney, who may also be out of time in Carolina if Tepper decides on sweeping changes in an offseason that may also see the departure of quarterback Cam Newton.
Rivera was 76-63-1 as Panthers head coach and took the team to the playoffs four times in his first eight seasons. They were 3-4 in the playoffs and won the NFC title for the 2015 season before losing to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.