NFL

Panthers promote QB coach Shula to offensive co-ordinator

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Associated Press
1/18/2013 5:21:27 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After 14 years Mike Shula is getting another chance to run an NFL offence.

The Panthers named Shula as their new offensive co-ordinator Friday and promoted two other assistant coaches.

Richard Rodgers was named Carolina's special teams co-ordinator after taking over that role on an interim basis last season and Ricky Proehl was promoted as the Panthers new wide receivers coach after working as an assistant in 2012.

Shula served as the team's quarterbacks coach the last two seasons.

The Panthers chose to hire from within after interviewing candidates from outside the organization.

"After going through the interview process we feel that Mike's familiarity with our offence and personnel lends itself to the offensive co-ordinator position," coach Ron Rivera said. "He has the experience and knowledge to step in and provide continuity in an area that has been productive over the past two years."

Shula takes over for Rob Chudzinski, who left to become the Cleveland Browns' head coach.

Shula said he was anxious to get another shot at being an offensive co-ordinator.

The last time didn't work out so well.

He spent four seasons (1996-99) as the offensive co-ordinator at Tampa Bay, but the Bucs finished 29th in total offence, 27th in points scored and last in the league in passing, according to STATS INC. They never finished better than 22nd in total offence in any of those four seasons.

However, this time around he has the versatile Cam Newton running the offence.

"I am excited about working with our offence in a more expanded role as offensive co-ordinator," said Shula, the son of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula. "There are a number of pieces in place for a good offence and our goal is to build on the momentum we had at the end of last season. "

Shula has helped with the development of Newton, who was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011 and who improved statistically in his second season. The Panthers have been ranked seventh and 12th in total offence the past two years.

Shula has 20 years of NFL coaching experience.

In addition to coaching with the Panthers, Bucs, and Jaguars, Shula was also the tight ends coach for the Chicago Bears. He was also served as head coach at Alabama.

Rodgers joined the Panthers last season as assistant special teams coach after 23 seasons of college coaching and was elevated to interim special teams coach nine weeks into the season when Brian Murphy was fired by Rivera. Under Rodgers the Panthers special teams climbed in several NFL rankings over the final seven games, including kickoff coverage, where Carolina finished 11th in the league.

"Richard did a great job of stepping in last season and we want to build upon the foundation that he established in the second half of last season," Rivera said.

Proehl spent the last two years as assistant wide receivers coach under Fred Graves, who was fired earlier this off-season.

He also played with the Panthers for three seasons and caught 669 passes for 8,878 yards during his 17-year career.

"Ricky brings a great technical understanding of the wide receiver position and has good insight on our personnel at the position," Rivera said. "I have been very impressed with his work over the past two seasons."

Carolina Panthers (Photo: NFL)

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