Ron Rivera is the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and a former NFL player. Just two years ago he won the AP NFL Coach of the Year Award and currently he’s in the midst of an undefeated season for the Panthers. Here are 10 fun facts about “Riverboat Ron”.
1.Ron grew up in a military family and spent parts of his childhood in Panama, Germany, Maryland, Washington D.C. When Ron was a teenager, his family finally settled in Monterey, California, where he began playing football and finished high school.
2. Ron’s idol growing up was Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente.
3. After graduating, Ron won a scholarship to UC-Berkeley to play football for the Golden Bears. At UC-Berkeley, Ron was an All-American linebacker and broke several school records.
4. In 1984, Ron was selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the NFL draft. In the following season, he played in Super Bowl XX, where the Bears beat the New England Patriots. Ron was the first Puerto Rican to play on a victorious Super Bowl team.
5. Rivera played for the Chicago Bears for a total of nine seasons. In 1993, he left the NFL and went to work as a TV analyst covering the Bears and a little college football.
6. Ron worked for the Chicago Bears, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the San Diego Chargers before he was hired by the Carolina Panthers in 2011.
7. He is the fourth Latino head coach in the NFL.
8. After a rocky first two years with the Panthers, rumors circulated that Rivera was going to be fired. At this time his coaching style was characterized by very conservative decisions. In 2013, Rivera revised his style and became a more aggressive coach.
9. The swift change of coaching styles earned Rivera the nickname “Riverboat Ron,” as he seemingly showed the instincts of a riverboat gambler.
10. Ron and his wife Stephanie, a former coach for the Washington Mystics basketball team, married in 1984, around the time Ron was drafted by the Bears. The two met at college and were engaged four months later. They have two children, Courtney and Christopher, both in their twenties.