After a late surge to finish the 2012 season, the Carolina Panthers have decided to retain head coach Ron Rivera.
The Associated Press’ Steve Reed reported the news via Twitter:
Panthers PR spokesman Charlie Dayton has said Ron Rivera is staying and preparing for next season.— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) January 5, 2013
Rivera was hired to replace John Fox prior to the 2011 season, and he has compiled a 13-19 record over the past two years. Previously, he was a defensive coordinator for both the Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers.
The 50-year-old was considered to be on the hot seat once the year ended, but four consecutive wins in the final weeks of the season has helped him keep his job.
After the first half of the season, Rivera appeared to be on his way out due to a 2-6 start.
The team’s play at the beginning of the schedule was disappointing enough for owner Jerry Richardson to fire general manager Marty Hurney, as noted by NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal. The Panthers have still not filled the vacancy in their front office.
Rivera was informed that he will remain in his current position after the Associated Press (via ESPN) reported that he would be meeting with Richardson today.
While his job is safe for now, the stakes will continue to get higher for Rivera. He has a franchise quarterback in Cam Newton, and another season without challenging for a playoff spot is unlikely to be tolerated.
Rivera has been given another chance, and he will need to start making improvements immediately during the offseason to ensure that his team continues progressing in 2013.