The Carolina Panthers are reporting that head coach Ron Rivera was named the National Football League Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America on Thursday.


Rivera led the Panthers (12-5) to the NFC South Division title and their first playoff appearance since 2008. The Panthers lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional playoffs.


The Associated Press’ Coach of the Year Award, considered the most prestigious of the postseason honors, will be announced during the NFL Honors awards ceremony Feb. 1 in New York.


Rivera, 52, will coach the Jerry Rice team in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 26. He and his staff will be joined in Hawaii by six Panthers players, including quarterback Cam Newton and middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.


Rivera, a longtime NFL defensive coach before former general manager Marty Hurney hired him before the 2011 season, is entering the final year of his four-year deal.



Photo Courtesy: Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers