Chargers' Rivera Hired as Panthers Head Coach

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011  |  Updated 2:50 PM PDT
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Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera of the San Diego Chargers.

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Ron Rivera interviewed for nine different NFL head coaching jobs. He finally got one.

The Chargers defensive coordinator has been named the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers and is entrusted with turning around the NFL's worst team.

I’m excited for Ron,” said Head Coach Norv Turner. “He has aspired to be an NFL head coach and I expect him to do an outstanding job.

It's the first head-coaching job for the 49-year-old Rivera. He replaces John Fox, who was let go earlier this month after Carolina went 2-14 in his ninth season.

“It’s been quite a wait for Ron, but it’s finally come. We are all happy for him. He is very much deserving of this opportunity,” said General Manager A.J. Smith.

Under Rivera, the 2010 Chargers led the NFL in total defense and passing defense and finished second in sacks. Rivera took over as Chargers defensive coordinator midway through the 2008 season, taking over when Ted Cottrell was fired. Rivera was also the Bears defensive coordinator from 2004-2006, helping Chicago reach the Super Bowl in his final season there.

Rivera will be the fourth head coach in Carolina history. Interestingly, all of the previous three (Dom Capers, George Seifert and John Fox) were also defensive coordinators.

The Chargers do not currently have a coach on their staff who has been an NFL defensive coordinator, so Rivera's replacement will likely come from outside the organization.

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