ASHBURN — The Redskins have hired Ron Rivera as their new head coach.
Two days after Washington fired team president Bruce Allen after a decade with the organization, it announced it hired Rivera, 57, who coached the Carolina Panthers for nine years, including a 15-1 season in 2015 and a Super Bowl appearance.
Reports that Rivera took the job surfaced on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the team announced it was a done deal.
“After several meetings with Coach Rivera, it was clear he is the right person to bring winning football back to Washington D.C.,” said team owner Dan Snyder in a statement. “He is widely respected around the league as a man of great integrity and has proven to be one of the finest coaches in the country.”
The rest of Washington’s front office structure, including scouts and executives, has yet to be announced. The current coaching staff was also awaiting word on its fate late Monday. Rivera met with owner Daniel Snyder on Monday afternoon and evening and a deal was finalized.
Rivera, who is of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent, is the third man of Hispanic heritage to coach in the NFL. An All-American linebacker at California, he won a Super Bowl with the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears and got into coaching after a nine-year NFL career. Rivera was an assistant coach with the Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers before taking over the 2-14 Panthers in 2011.
Carolina improved in each of its first three seasons to six, seven and then 12 wins and an NFC South title. Rivera was named Associated Press coach of the year in 2013 and 2015. That latter team was 17-1 before losing in the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos. Rivera is the first minority hired to be the full-time coach by Snyder. Terry Robiskie was the interim coach for the final three games of the 2000 season.
Rivera’s career record in Carolina was 76-63-1 with three NFC South titles and four playoff appearances. He is the seventh coach hired by Snyder (Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn, Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden). Robiskie and Callahan were interim coaches promoted during the season. Snyder inherited Norv Turner when he bought the team in 1999.
Rivera, ironically, lost his job in Carolina after a 29-21 home loss to the Redskins on Dec. 1 in Charlotte. The Panthers fell to 5-7 and the change was made on Dec. 3. That gave Washington a chance to get ahead of its coaching search. The Redskins had a need and Rivera, a veteran coach who was twice a defensive coordinator with the Bears and Chargers, was deemed the perfect fit.
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