The Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Ron Rivera, the team announced Tuesday. Secondary coach Perry Fewell will take over head coaching duties on an interim basis for the final four games of the season, with offensive coordinator Norv Turner shifting to special assistant to the head coach.
Rivera, the fourth coach in the Panthers' history, has been at the helm of the team since 2011, compiling a 76-63-1 regular season record. In his nine seasons, Rivera led the team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2016, an NFC Championship and three NFC South titles. He signed a two-year contract extension in January 2018.
The Panthers have struggled this season, however, limping to a 5-7 record after losing quarterback Cam Newton to injury following just two games. The Panthers have lost their last four games.
"I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team," Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement. "I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he made to this franchise and this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers."
In other coaching shifts as Rivera departs, quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive coordinator. Tepper added that he plans to hire an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations as part of the team restructuring.
Fewell is in his first season with the Panthers. He has spent 21 years in various coaching roles in the NFL, including the last two as secondary coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Fewell becomes only the third active African American head coach in the league, along with Mike Tomlin of the Steelers and Anthony Lynn of the Chargers. He's a native of Gaston County and went to college at Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory.
"We are going to take a comprehensive and thorough review of our football operations to make sure we are structured for long-term, sustained success," Tepper said. "Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes."