CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Carolina Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule Monday on the heels of the team’s fourth loss in five games, team executives confirm.
Rhule finishes his stint as the Panthers’ head coach with an overall record of 11-27. During his tenure, the Panthers never won more than 5 games during the regular season.
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The Panthers said defensive pass game coordinator Steve Wilks would take over as interim head coach.
Wilks, a Charlotte native, and App State alum, spent one year as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and six years on the Panthers coaching staff from 2012-17.
Despite Carolina’s second straight losing season, Matt Rhule was hopeful when he became the 6th coach in Panthers history back in 2020. Unlike former owner Jerry Richardson, Rhule didn’t promise a Super Bowl, but he did say he’d do whatever it takes to get it.
But instead of improvement in Rhule’s first year, the Panthers finished at 5-11 for the second season in a row. Much of their problems were routed in quarterback play as the team failed to find an identity following the departure of Cam Newton the previous year.
The defense also took a hit with the retirement of linebacker Luke Kuechly. And though Carolina began the season at 3-2, the five-game losing streak that followed was ultimately their doom as they missed the playoffs for the third straight year.
For 2021, Rhule was joined by a new general manager. Marty Hurney was gone and Scott Fitterer was now in charge. Fitterer said he looked forward to working with Rhule but in their first season together it seemed like nothing could go right.
Running back Christian McCaffrey experienced a second straight year of injuries.
And Newton returned, the team stumbled, closing out the season with seven straight losses to finish at 5-12. This past January, Rhule fired Joe Brady as his offensive coordinator and gave the keys of the offense to former Giants coach Ben McAdoo.
Which brings us to this season. Facing a ton of pressure, Rhule put his faith in Baker Mayfield as his new starting quarterback. But as Mayfield struggled, so too did Carolina’s offense and unfortunately for Rhule, his time with the Panthers was over.
And so now, nearly 3 decades later, Richardson’s pledge of winning football’s grand prize remains unfilled.