Panthers fire Matt Rhule, former Cardinals coach Steve Wilks now interim
The Carolina Panthers (1-4) on Monday fired head coach Matt Rhule and replaced him with former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks, the team announced.
Rhule, who was hired in 2020 away from Baylor, went 11-27 over two-plus seasons while Carolina sputtered trying to find a franchise quarterback and beyond.
Wilks this season has served as defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach. He was a member of the Panthers’ staff under former head coach Ron Rivera from 2012-17, acting as defensive backs coach (2012-14) and then assistant head coach in 2015. He took over the defensive coordinator role in 2017 before being hired as the Cardinals’ replacement for Bruce Arians in 2018.
His tenure in Arizona was short-lived as Wilks went 3-13 in his only season on the job.
The Cardinals’ season included a mid-year firing of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, replacing veteran quarterback Sam Bradford with first-round pick Josh Rosen and cornerback Patrick Peterson requesting a trade before rescinding that desire.
Arizona replaced Wilks with current head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who has gone 26-27 as an NFL head coach.
Wilks, after losing his job with the Cardinals, served as Cleveland Brown defensive coordinator in 2018 under Hue Jackson and then interim Gregg Williams. Wilks was not retained when Cleveland hired Kevin Stefanski for the 2020 season.
He then landed a job as defensive coordinator under Missouri head coach Eliah Drinkwitz before returning to the NFL on Rhule’s staff to begin this 2022 season.
Carolina has a Week 3 victory against the New Orleans Saints but has lost to the Browns, Giants, Cardinals and 49ers. The Panthers fell to San Francisco 37-15 on Sunday, prompting the firing of Rhule.