Former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera: ‘I will coach again’

Dec. 4 (UPI) — After being fired by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper on Tuesday, former head coach Ron Rivera said he doesn’t plan to walk away from the league.

Speaking for about 30 minutes in a farewell press conference Wednesday at Bank of America Stadium, Rivera told reporters he intends to coach again in the NFL. He has been a part of the league as a player and coach for 33 years.

“Absolutely. My intent is to coach again,” Rivera said. “I love coaching. Not just coaching because it’s about winning football games, but coaching because you have an opportunity to impact young men and people. And that’s what I want to do.

“I do believe I will get another opportunity, and I will coach again.”

Rivera said his goal of winning a Super Bowl as an NFL head coach remains unchanged. He won a championship as a player with the Chicago Bears in 1985.

Rivera guided the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, losing 24-10 to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

“My biggest regret is not winning the Super Bowl,” Rivera said.

The Panthers secured three consecutive NFC South titles (2013-15) despite not having consecutive winning seasons in nine years under Rivera. Tepper described the team’s recent history as “long-term mediocrity,” a phrase that Rivera seemed to disagree with.

“I’m proud I took over a 2-14 team and won back-to-back-to-back NFC South division titles,” Rivera said. “I want to reemphasize: I’m proud I took over a 2-14 team and won back-to-back-to-back. See the emphasis? Won three in a row.

“Whether you define it by wins or losses or you define it by winning the division, to me that’s three years in a row. … I get tired of hearing, ‘They couldn’t win [two] years in a row.’ No, we won three years in a row, so let’s get that straight. And we were the first team in the NFC South to do it, so I’m doggone proud of that.”

Rivera was hired as the fourth head coach in Panthers history in 2011. In his nine-year tenure in Carolina, he compiled a 76-63-1 record in the regular season and a 3-4 postseason mark.

Rivera, 58, finished as the winningest coach in franchise history. He was a two-time NFL Coach of the Year, but posted a 12-16 record in the past two seasons after Tepper purchased the Panthers from longtime owner Jerry Richardson for an NFL-record $2.275 billion in May 2018.