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Panthers get their coach, agreeing on a four-year deal with Frank Reich

Frank Reich spent the past four-plus seasons with the Colts, where he went 40-33-1 as head coach before being fired Nov. 7.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Frank Reich is returning to the Panthers as their coach, more than 27 years after starting the franchise’s first game at quarterback in 1995.

The Panthers announced Thursday they've agreed to terms with Reich to become the sixth head coach in franchise history. An introductory news conference was set for Tuesday.

Reich was chosen among nine candidates who interviewed for the job, including former Saints head coach Sean Payton and this season’s interim coach, Steve Wilks.

Reich received a four-year deal from the Panthers, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not release details of coaching hires.


Reich, 61, joins the Panthers after spending the past four-plus seasons with the Colts, where he went 40-33-1 as head coach before being fired Nov. 7 after a 3-5-1 start. The Colts went to the playoffs twice as a wild-card team under Reich, going 1-2 in the postseason.

Frank Reich, seen here as the Carolina quarterback in 1995, was named the Panthers' new head coach Thursday.BOB LEVERONE/Associated Press

Before joining the Colts, Reich worked two years as the offensive coordinator for the Eagles, helping them win the Super Bowl in his second season under head coach Doug Pederson.

Wilks, who is Black, was already part of a lawsuit that included Brian Flores alleging racist hiring practices by the NFL.

Douglas Wigdor, the lawyer who is representing Wilks in the lawsuit, said in a statement to the Associated Press Thursday “we are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the head coach position by David Tepper.”

Wigdor continued: “There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”


Wilks went 6-6 last season. He took over for Rhule, who was fired by Tepper less than three seasons after giving him a seven-year, $72 million contract. Rhule was 11-27 overall, and the Panthers were 1-4 when he was fired.