Ron Rivera: Wikis


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Ron Rivera
Replace this image male.svg
Date of birth January 7, 1962 (1962-01-07) (age 48)
Place of birth Fort Ord, California
Position(s) Linebacker
College California
NFL Draft 1984 / Round 2 / Pick 44
Playing stats DatabaseFootball
Team(s) as a player
1984-1992 Chicago Bears
Team(s) as a coach/administrator




Chicago Bears
(Defensive quality coach)
Philadelphia Eagles
(Linebackers coach)
Chicago Bears
(Defensive coordinator)
San Diego Chargers
(Linebackers coach)
San Diego Chargers
(Defensive coordinator)

Ronald Eugene Rivera (born January 7, 1962) was the first American of Puerto Rican descent to play in the National Football League (NFL).[1] He was a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears, who won Super Bowl XX. Rivera was the defensive coordinator for the 2006 Chicago Bears, who won the National Football Conference championship and competed in Super Bowl XLI. He is currently the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers.

Rivera learned under coaches who favor aggressive defensive philosophies, such as Buddy Ryan, Jim Johnson and Lovie Smith. He employs the 3-4 defensive scheme.


Early years

Rivera was born in Fort Ord, California. His father was a Puerto Rican commissioned officer in the United States Army stationed in California. There he met his future wife, Rivera's mother. As a result of his father's military service, Rivera had to travel and was educated in military bases in Germany, Panama, Washington, and Maryland. Finally his family moved to central California. There, he attended Seaside High School, where he first started playing football.

Playing career


College career

Rivera was granted a college scholarship and played for the Golden Bears at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an All-American linebacker who once held his school's all-time sack and career tackles records. Rivera still holds the Cal record for most tackles for loss in a season, which he set in 1983.

Pro career

In the 1984 NFL Draft, Rivera was selected in the second round by the Chicago Bears, becoming the first Puerto Rican/Mexican to play in the NFL. During the 1985 Season, Rivera played in Super Bowl XX, where the Bears beat the New England Patriots, 46-10. He thus became the first Puerto Rican to play on a Super Bowl Championship Team. Rivera played for the Bears for a total of nine seasons (1984-1992).

Coaching career

In 1993, Rivera went to work for a WGN-TV and SportsChannel in Chicago as a TV analyst covering the Bears and college football. In 1996, he became a defense quality control coach for the Bears.

Philadelphia Eagles

In 1999, Rivera was named linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. During his tenure the Eagles advanced to the NFC Championship for three consecutive seasons. He is credited with developing linebacker Jeremiah Trotter into a two-time Pro Bowl performer.

Back in Chicago

On January 23, 2004, Rivera was named the Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator, becoming the first Puerto Rican/ Mexican in the history of the NFL to hold such a position. In 2005, the Chicago Bears defense was rated second-best in the NFL.[2] The Bears qualified for the NFC playoffs losing in the 2nd Round to the Carolina Panthers 29-21. The 2005 season output of the Chicago Bears earned him consideration for Head Coach assignments from several NFL teams.

In 2006, the Bears’ defensive efforts failed to match the success of their 2005 season. Nevertheless, the team was still a notable presence in league, finishing with the league’s third ranked and conference’s top-ranked points allowed category.[2] The defense’s success earned Rivera recognition among franchises looking for new head coaches. The Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers interviewed him in January 2007. He was a candidate for the vacant Dallas Cowboys head coaching position, a job that ultimately went to San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Rivera was named as a potential candidate to replace the fired Marty Schottenheimer in San Diego, but the job was filled by Norv Turner, the brother of fellow offensive coordinator, Ron Turner, Rivera's offensive counterpart in Chicago.[3] [4] [5] After the announcement, ESPN reported that the Bears were considering letting Rivera go. This came after several other teams interviewed him, and the negotiations between his representatives and the Bears were making little progress.[6] On February 19, 2007, it was announced that Ron Rivera's contract with the Bears would not be renewed.[7]

San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers hired Rivera as team's inside linebackers coach after he left the Bears.[8] On October 28, 2008, Rivera was promoted to defensive coordinator with the Chargers after the team released former defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.[9]

Personal life

Ron Rivera is married and has two children (Christopher, 23 & Courtney, 17) with his wife Stephanie, an assistant coach for the WNBA's Washington Mystics. In 2003 Rivera was inducted into the Division 1-A College Football Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the California Sports Hall of Fame.

See also


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Greg Blache
Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
Bob Babich
Preceded by
Greg Manusky
San Diego Chargers Linebackers Coaches
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ted Cottrell
San Diego Chargers Defensive Coordinators
October 28, 2008-present
Succeeded by


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