It’s official… Ron Riverais headed to The District.
The Washington Redskins have officially hired the 57-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American NFL coach as its head coach, the team officially announced on Wednesday.
Rivera had been dismissed in early December by the Carolina Panthers after eight and a half seasons. During his tenure with the Panthers, he took the team to four playoff appearances and finished as the franchise’s most successful head coach, with a 76-63-1 record.
He arrived in town when quarterback Cam Newtonwas a rookie, and their fortunes rose and fell together. Their peak came in the 2015 season, when the Panthers were 15-1 and made their second Super Bowlappearance, losing to the Denver Broncos, 24-10, in Peyton Manning’s final game.
Rivera was named coach of the year by The Associated Pressin 2013 and 2015.
Despite those highs, the team has had a losing record in three of the last four years. This season, Newton played in only two games before leaving the lineup with a foot injury. There had been hopes that he would return, but he never did, a touchy topic that hung over the team.
The Panthers ran off four straight wins behind the backup Kyle Allen. The magic didn’t last. Rivera was fired after a loss to Washington, with the team’s record at 5-7. They lost their last eight games, limping to a 5-11 record to finish in last place in the N.F.C. South.
Rivera was one of four non-white head coaches in the NFLat the start of this season.
“After several meetings with Coach Rivera, it was clear he is the right person to bring winning football back to Washington D.C.,” said Dan Snyder, the team owner, 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.”
Rivera inherits a Redskins team that slumped to a 3-13 record this season after four years of finishing within a game of .500. Coach Jay Gruden was firedafter an 0-5 start, but things didn’t improve much under the interim coach, Bill Callahan.
The team turned to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins as the starter halfway through the season, but if anything, he performed worse than his predecessor, Case Keenum, before injuring an ankle in Week 16.