The Carolina Panthers announced Tuesday they have fired head coach Ron Rivera, abruptly ending his nearly nine-year tenure with the team.
"I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team," 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."
Secondary coach Perry Fewell will serve as interim coach for the remainder of 2019. The Panthers are in the midst of a four-game losing streak with four games remaining.
A California native and former Chicago Bears linebacker, Rivera succeeded John Fox as head coach of the Panthers in 2011 and went on to lead them to three NFC South titles and a Super Bowl appearance. A two-time Associated Press coach of the year, he posted an overall regular-season record of 76-63-1 in Carolina, including a 5-7 mark so far this year. He ends his run with the most wins of any coach in franchise history.
Rivera, 57, was also the NFL's only Latino head coach and one of just four minority head coaches in the league.
Tepper said the Panthers will now undergo "a comprehensive and thorough review of our football operation" as they search for their next head coach.
"Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes," the owner said in a statement. "We will consider a wide range of football executives to complement our current football staff. One change that we will implement is hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations.
"We all must recognize that this is the first step in a process, but we are committed to building and maintaining a championship culture for our team and our fans."
Contact Tom Schad at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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