North Carolina Roots Shape New Panthers Coaching Staff


The Carolina Panthers recently filled out their coaching staff for the 2024 season with several new hires adding to the existing staff, many of whom already have roots and connections in the state of North Carolina that should help them relate to Panthers players and fans.

Head coach Dave Canales and general manager Dan Morgan announced last week the addition of five new coaches and one football operations staff member. Some of the key new hires include Will Harriger as quarterbacks coach, Nathan Carroll as pass game coordinator, Pat McPherson as tight ends coach, and Daren Bates as special teams assistant.

In addition to the new faces, 13 assistants are returning from last season’s staff, including the entire defensive staff led by coordinator Ejiro Evero. Four offensive coaches were previously announced as well: Brad Idzik as offensive coordinator, Tracy Smith as special teams coordinator, Harold Goodwin as assistant head coach/run game coordinator, and others.

Beyond coaching staff changes aiming to improve team performance, another evolution drawing and exciting North Carolina football fans is the recent introduction of legal sports betting. As of March 2022, sportsbooks like BetMGM launched operations in North Carolina following legislation allowing online sports betting statewide.

For passionate Panthers fans who closely follow the team throughout losing and winning seasons, there are now ways for their loyalty to potentially pay off as well. Sportsbooks like BetMGM offer attractive sign-up bonuses like risk-free initial bets up to $1,000 and deposit matches using the BetMGM North Carolina bonus code.

These competitive offers reward fans for betting on the Panthers’ chances each game and season. Regardless if bets win or lose, North Carolina customers using the BetMGM app and bonus code deal unlock extra value just for playing along and supporting their team.

The arrival of sports betting has given Panthers fans another avenue to indulge their football interest while adding more excitement around the club’s efforts to return to contention under the new coaching staff in 2023. With competitive sign-up deals like those offered using the BetMGM North Carolina bonus code, placing some friendly wagers makes cheering for the Panthers even sweeter.


Quarterbacks Coach Brings College and NFL Expertise

As quarterbacks coach, Will Harriger has over a decade of experience coaching various positions at the college level before transitioning to the NFL in 2014. He spent five seasons with the Seattle Seahawks coaching alongside now-Panthers head coach Dave Canales to develop familiarity with Canales’ offensive philosophies.

Most recently in 2022, Harriger coached star quarterback Caleb Williams at the University of Southern California. Now in Carolina, he will work closely with Panthers quarterbacks to elevate their play. With new offensive coordinator Brad Idzik also on staff, Harriger brings expertise to help install schemes tailored to the strengths of the Panthers’ signal-callers.


Son of Legendary Coach Adds Pass Game Knowledge

New pass game coordinator Nathan Carroll is the son of legendary NFL coach Pete Carroll and has over a decade of experience coaching offense in the league. He spent extensive time working under Dave Canales when they were both part of Pete Carroll’s staff with the Seattle Seahawks.

That shared background and knowledge of Canales’ philosophies should help Carroll seamlessly integrate with the new Panthers coaching staff. He will provide critical input on scheming the passing attack to maximize effectiveness through route concepts, personnel usage, and exploiting matchups using analytics.


Tight Ends Coach Brings Over 25 Years of NFL Experience

With over 25 years of experience coaching in the NFL including the last 14 seasons specializing in tight ends, new Panthers tight ends coach Pat McPherson offers tremendous value. The majority of his career has been spent with either the Seattle Seahawks or Denver Broncos, during which time he has worked with many productive tight ends.

McPherson’s extensive background coaching the position will provide essential guidance for breakout tight end Tommy Tremble and the rest of the Panthers’ tight ends. His player development skills should help the group reach its full potential as both receivers and blockers within the scheme being installed by coordinators Canales and Idzik.


Evero Leads Returning Panthers Defensive Staff

While much of the offensive coaching staff is new for 2023, the entire defensive staff from last season remains intact led by highly regarded coordinator Ejiro Evero. After fielding a top 10 scoring defense last season despite injuries and personnel challenges, keeping Evero and his staff in place provides continuity for the Panthers on that side of the ball.

Several defensive assistants like Todd Wash (defensive line), Bert Watts (secondary/safeties), and Peter Hansen (inside linebackers) have worked wonders developing young talent and maximizing veterans over the past couple seasons. Keeping them on staff allows those relationships to continue progressing.

With additions like edge rusher Brian Burns receiving new contract extensions to remain core players for years to come, Evero’s defense expects to take another leap forward in 2023 to help lead the Panthers’ success. Maintaining staff cohesion is key, and Evero’s group should have Carolina’s defense primed to impress once again.


Special Teams Coordinator Anchors Carolina Ties

New special teams coordinator Tracy Smith adds even more local North Carolina flavor to the Panthers staff in 2023. A native of New Bern, NC, Smith played college football at East Carolina University where he was a wide receiver and return specialist. He brings over 25 years of NFL and college coaching experience back to his home state to lead Panthers special teams.

Having coached in the college ranks throughout North Carolina at schools like ECU, UNC Chapel Hill, and Duke, Smith’s familiarity with the state and its football landscape should help connect with players. His background developing special teams schemes and fundamentals throughout his career will be valuable for improving the Panthers’ production in the kicking game.


Assistant Coaches Embrace North Carolina Roots

Several other Panthers assistants also have ties to North Carolina either through local coaching experience or regional university backgrounds that should resonate in their new roles.

For example, running backs coach Bernie Parmalee is a former NFL running back who was born in Smithfield, NC and attended UNC Pembroke. Wide receivers coach Rob Moore is a Duke University alum who spent several years coaching at his alma mater earlier in his career. Their Carolina roots should allow them to blend their NFL experience with an understanding of North Carolina football culture and what resonates with local fans.

Meanwhile, other additions like pass game coordinator Nathan Carroll, tight ends coach Pat McPherson, and special teams assistant Daren Bates offer fresh perspective from successful stints with NFL teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, and Atlanta Falcons. Blending their outside point of view with coaches who know North Carolina football provides a great combination.

The coaching staff makeover spearheaded by new head coach Dave Canales integrates coaches with Carolina ties along with those offering new ideas from around the league. By meshing familiarity and fresh approaches, the staff reboot aims to reinvigorate Panthers football in 2023 and beyond.


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