North Carolina

Carolina Panthers introduce new head coach Frank Reich

CHARLOTTE, NC– The Carolina Panthers introduced their new head coach Frank Reich in Charlotte today. He is the sixth head coach in franchise history.

Panthers owner David Tepper said Reich’s strong and skilled background as an offensive coach was one of the main reasons he hired him as the team’s new head coach.

And ultimately one of the reasons the Panthers have refrained from bringing back interim head coach Steve Wilks, who comes from a defensive background – like every previous Panthers head coach.

“Every year we attend these NFL (owners) meetings and every year a new rule that benefits the offense is put in place — every year,” Tepper said. “Every single year, and it will never end. Each year.

The Panthers hope Reich can help them capitalize on the offensive rules.

Reich, who was unveiled at a news conference Tuesday five days after the team announced his hiring, will become the Panthers’ first head coach with an offensive background.

He spent 14 seasons as an NFL quarterback, then worked his way up as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, winning a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles five years ago before becoming head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.

Tepper said he doesn’t want to make the same “mistake” he made in 2020 when he hired Matt Rhule, who he classified as a “CEO guy” coach.

Rhule’s tenure in Carolina did not last long. He was fired after just five games in his third season after going 11-27.

“It’s better to have a coach who is really exceptional on one side of the ball or the other,” Tepper said. “And we think Frank is really good on offense.”

Wilks became a hugely popular figure in the Carolina dressing room last season after taking over a team that was 1-5 under Rhule and just traded his best offensive player to Christian McCaffrey.

But it wasn’t enough to give him the full-time job.

Tepper personally interviewed four different NFL offensive coordinators before settling on Reich.

Reich wouldn’t confirm that he plans to call plays in Carolina, but it sounds like that’s his preference.

“Obviously, I’ve always enjoyed doing that and felt like I had a fair amount of success with it,” Reich said.

“If you have a head coach who has played that position, he knows what it looks like when you look through the lens of a quarterback,” said Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer. “He knows what processing looks like, how to announce games through that eye. So there are many benefits of having an attacking head coach.”

Tepper and Fitterer said what set Reich apart from other candidates was that he had been recruiting for quality assistant coaches to join his staff — though the Panthers have yet to announce any of those hires.

Tepper, a billionaire hedge fund owner, firmly believes you are only as good as your supporting cast.

“He was the one who came out on top to test the very best coaches we can have to help this team be as successful as possible,” said Tepper. “…Everyone has presented who they have and what they think will help us win in the future and based on that we made the decision.”

Reich cut out his work for him to get ahead.

The Panthers are 29-53 since Tepper bought the team and haven’t won a playoff game since 2015.

Carolina’s defense is solid, but she doesn’t have a clear answer to the quarterback. Sam Darnold, who’s been so-so for the past two seasons, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, and PJ Walker and Matt Corral, who missed his rookie season with an injury, are the other quarterbacks on the list.

Nevertheless, Reich remains optimistic.

He likes the team’s offensive line and running game behind D’Onta Foreman, but said the Panthers need to find a better way to create chunk plays in the passing game. The Panthers finished 29th in the league in passing.

For Reich, returning to Carolina is a bit of a homecoming.

He started the first game for the Panthers in 1995. A handful of Reich teammates from that expansion team attended the press conference, including Pete Metzelaars, John Kasay and Carlton Bailey.

Reich spoke to the crowd about building a winner.

He referred to a saying that he learned early on in his football career and which he still has on his desk at home: “That no one should suddenly deviate from their habits and cherished thoughts.”

“We’re going to be a team that’s about creating championship habits and championship spirit,” Reich said. “We’re going to cultivate these, we’re going to nurture them, and as they grow, they’re going to be contagious.”


AP NFL: and



AP Wire ID d6fa654a86ef801de42c23e1b9c11f86

Copyright © 2023 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All rights reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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