Ron Rivera won a lot of games during his time as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. However, after nine seasons team owner David Tepper decided to let Rivera go after tough losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins and the team is currently 5-7 on the year. But how does Rivera feel about the decision? While surprising, he enjoyed the experience.
“Great years. I absolutely enjoyed it,” Rivera said via Max Henson of Panthers.com. “So many fond memories. I just think back to how much fun we had and how great it really was.”
Rivera also talked about being a steady hand when things were out of control. When Rivera took over as the Panthers head coach in 2011, the team was coming off a 2-14 season in 2010. It took the Panthers a few years to be a contender, but it ultimately led to a Super Bowl appearance in 2015.
“That’s probably the biggest thing, coming from where we started, where we came from, you know?” Rivera said. “That’s the biggest gratification to me. We started way down and worked our way up to being respectable. Unfortunately, we couldn’t maintain it.”
When the Panthers announced they have fired Rivera Tepper said this was the right move for the team as they look to win their first Super Bowl.
“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.
Cam Newton, who is currently on injured reserve was drafted by the Panthers No. 1 overall in 2011 which was Rivera's first year as the head coach. He sent a message to Rivera on Instagram.0comments
"Will be forever grateful because of the impact you had on my life," Newton wrote. "Thank you for giving me an opportunity. Thank you for believing in me. I can go on & on but most importantly; thank you for allowing me to be me!"
Rivera posted a 76-63 record in nine seasons with the Panthers. He led to team to three division titles, one conference championship and he was named Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2015.