Despite Steve Wilks finishing out the year with the Carolina Panthers, Frank Reich was still named the team’s next head coach. That has reportedly rubbed some Panthers players the wrong way, as they were rooting for Wilks to land the permanent position, via Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network.
Wilks became the Panthers interim head coach after Matt Rhule was fired following a 1-4 start. Carolina went 6-6 under Wilks as the Panthers stayed in the hunt for the NFC South title. Wilks was interviewed for the Panthers’ permanent HC job, but instead it went to Reich. Some inside Carolina’s locker room felt that was the wrong decision.
“Put simply, there are players who think that David Tepper hired the wrong candidate,” Beasley wrote. “There’s a faction within the building that was rooting for interim coach Steve Wilks to get the job, and they were disappointed he did not.”
Frank Reich spent almost five years as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He was fired after Week 9 this past season after Indy’s 3-5-1 start. During his time with the Colts, Reich’s teams compiled a 40-33-1 record and reached the postseason twice.
Reich is a revered offensive mind and that skill set is what Carolina was looking for. But for some Panthers, they were still hoping Steve Wilks got the job. While they didn’t make the playoffs, the Panthers played better than anyone expected under Wilks.
Carolina will enter the first year of the Reich era at the start of the 2023 season. The Panthers will hope that by then, the locker room has warmed up to Reich as the team’s new head coach.