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December 31, 2010

Panthers make it official: Fox era over

The Carolina Panthers made official today what John Fox has known for a couple of years: The winningest coach in franchise history is gone after Sunday's game at Atlanta.

Fox met this afternoon with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who informed him that after nine years it was time for a change. Fox, who has a regular-season record of 73-70, entered the season in the final year of a contract that paid him $6.5 million this year.

"I told John today that I appreciate everything he has done for us over the last nine years, but as happens in this business, it is time for both sides to move in different directions," Richardson said in a release.

"While we haven't accomplished all of the goals we set as an organization when we signed him in 2002, we have certainly had our share of high moments -- the Super Bowl, two NFC Championship games and a division title in 2008. We wish John and his family the best going forward."

Fox, who took the Panthers to their only Super Bowl appearance after the 2003 season, said twice this week he knew the end was imminent for a couple of years.

If he wasn't certain his days were numbered when the Panthers declined to extend him following the 2008 playoff season, Fox definitely knew it when Richardson let him go into this season without an extension.

“I could see that coming, let me put it that way,” Fox said.

“It's something I've been preparing for for a couple of years,” Fox added. “As I've said before, it's been a lot of great memories, a lot of great relationships and something I'll cherish forever and embark on the next chapter.”

In the announcement released Friday afternoon, the Panthers said the contracts of Fox's assistants would not be renewed, either.

Fox, 55, was hired in 2002 after the Panthers went 1-15 in George Seifert's final season. Two years later, Fox had the Panthers in the Super Bowl, where they lost to New England 32-29 in Houston.

"I appreciate the opportunity Mr. Richardson gave me to be a head coach in the National Football League nine years ago and to be a part of this organization," Fox said in the release.

The mood during John Fox's final full practice with the Panthers on Friday seemed light.

There were a lot of laughs, including when Fox huddled with his players after the workout ended.

But Fox was not particularly emotional. When he approached reporters afterward, the first thing he asked about was the size of the crowd at the Meineke Bowl at adjacent Bank of America Stadium.

When asked about the day's mood, Fox said: “I'll say this, these guys have stayed enthusiastic and have continued to work very hard all season.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on December 31, 2010 at 04:44 PM | Permalink

Comments

Thanks for the great memories John Fox! You will be truely missed in Carolina. Best of luck on your next coaching endeavors!

Posted by: Laith Morse | Dec 31, 2010 5:03:26 PM

The new, uninitiated media clamor for a young coach with new ideas. They would like to think their generation knows better, and has such superior intellect, that is the direction to take!

Wrong!!! Under the circumstances, John did OK!

Experience is still the way to go!

Posted by: McKinnon | Dec 31, 2010 5:45:38 PM

Good riddance Foxy! I do appreciate our successful years under your watch.

Our whole nation celebrates your official departure tonight with Fireworks, ecspecially me!

Posted by: fox has to go!! | Dec 31, 2010 6:08:40 PM

^^^^^ME TO^^^^

Posted by: hellfish | Dec 31, 2010 6:18:24 PM

Jerry Richardson is an IDIOT!!

Posted by: Panther 2011 | Dec 31, 2010 6:24:18 PM

Not sure how to think about this .....
Seifert's last season was terrible, but he built the team to that point. Fox comes along and enjoys what he accomplished. Is it fair to say Fox took us to the SuperBowl ??? In any event, he out. Who's in ? Now what ???

Posted by: fishguy | Dec 31, 2010 6:36:18 PM

We owe John Fox a lot... A great coach. This year was not John's fault. The ownership did not give him the players to compete. Thank's John Fox...Now let us see if management can find a better one. It is easy to dismiss someone but to find someone better....?????

Posted by: mitch mitchell | Dec 31, 2010 6:53:45 PM

BTW ...... I have 2 PSLs on the 50yd line for sale ....... :(

Posted by: fishguy | Dec 31, 2010 7:20:28 PM

Fox is a good man, and we should all wish him the best, but 3 winning seasons in 9 years and never back to back winning seasons is just not good enough, changes need to be made.

Posted by: Kenny | Dec 31, 2010 7:40:30 PM

Thank you for the memories! The road to the Super Bowl was one of my fondest memories. I'll never forget when the Panthers knocked off the Super Bowl champs in the 2nd game of that season because that was the day my grandmother died and I needed something to distract me on that emotional, tough day. You gave me that and so much more.

Posted by: Elizabeth | Dec 31, 2010 8:49:52 PM

Fox was a good coach. I'm less sad than I was when Capers had run his course. It is time for a change. What JR does next will speak volumes

Posted by: zoneblitz | Dec 31, 2010 9:39:42 PM

John Fox has been a class act all the way. A man is only as good as his tools and JR didn't even give him a hammer to bang in a nail into a piece of wood. Look at what JR did to this team this year all because of a lock out that may or may not happen. JR SUCKS! He sucked when he owned Spartan Food systems of which I worked for his organization then and he SUCKS now!! He is the worst owner, I'd rather have a Jerry Jones than a no good, lying, deceitful, manipulative cheat like Jerry Richardson. If you do not believe me, just ask his sons what they think about what he did to them. He is not a man of his word and he has decimated the 2010 Panthers and that came out of his own mouth to the PSL owners.

Personally, I hope he is gone (6 foot under) before he ever sees the Panthers win a Superbowl. Take that as you wish but he SUCKS. He sucked at Spartan Foods, he sucks now. I agree with a lot of these other posters, sell the panthers to someone who really cares about winning because he sure didn't in 2010. Just my honest "blue collar" opinion!

Posted by: Cobrabitn | Dec 31, 2010 9:50:20 PM

We've had a top 10-15 coach for nine years, I am thankful.

Posted by: ripp | Dec 31, 2010 9:55:46 PM

The fact that the announcement did not make official the FIRING of Marty Hurney says everything about the ineptness of this franchise and the continued mediocrity for the future.

Posted by: HurneyMustGo | Dec 31, 2010 10:50:45 PM

Mark my words, John Fox will make it to another conference championship game before this franchise does!

Thanks for everything John Fox, REAL Panthers fans know you weren't perfect but you still did a fine job and gave it all you had. I miss Jake and remember the good times, and I feel the same about you

Posted by: Jason Alston | Jan 1, 2011 12:09:59 AM

I wish I could be paid $6 + million and still completely fail to meet my organizational benchmarks and annual goals.

Posted by: P. Schulz | Jan 1, 2011 1:40:32 AM

And they let Hurney stay? Jerry needs to take another look in the mirror if he thinks Fox was the only problem.....

Posted by: NeeterFaye | Jan 1, 2011 8:09:24 AM

I want to thank John Fox for a good 9 years. He always conducted himself with class. I have been watching pro football since 1960. I have seen few coaches who connected with their players as well as Fox.
Good Luck to you John!

Posted by: DJClifton | Jan 1, 2011 12:21:30 PM

Good positive piece Joe! I'm shocked!! Nicely done.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Jan 1, 2011 4:29:30 PM

My one interaction with Coach Fox occurred at Wofford during training camp several years ago. I was standing at the fence with my son, who was trying to get some autographs at the end of practice. The "stars" like Delhomme and Smith, headed up the hill without a word. Coach Fox came over, smiling and saying high to everyone, and signed for the kids for quite a while. He was a class act that day and I wish him well in the future.

Posted by: Boonie | Jan 2, 2011 8:53:39 AM

CANNOT BELIEVE Hurney is still going to be around! He was and I guess still will be, a BIG part of the problem, if not the BIGGEST! I, too, have two PSLs to sell!

Fox deserves much BETTER company than Jerry and Marty!

Posted by: Tee Time | Jan 2, 2011 1:13:20 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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