Despite a season that has seen the team go from division champs to being home for the playoffs, the Panthers appear to be standing pat with John Fox as their head coach and GM Marty Hurney moving forward to 2010. The Charlotte Observer reports today that the pair will be will be “offered the opportunity to return next season” by owner Jerry Richardson.
The Panthers were NFC South Champs a season ago, but there bounced in the Divisional Playoffs by the eventual NFC Champion Cardinals. This season they got off to a slow start, and never really recovered. But, despite a number of injuries, they have won two straight games, including a 41-9 pounding of the New York Giants yesterday at the Meadowlands.
Though they will stay on, the paper says that the pair will not be given a contract extension. Fox is due to make more than $6 million in 2010, the final season of his deal. The team declined to confirm or deny the report. Team spokesman Charlie Dayton said Fox and Hurney are under contract for next season, and he’s heard nothing to indicate they won’t return.
It is not the first time that Fox’s team has faltered after a big playoff run. He led Carolina to the Super Bowl after the 2003 season two years after inheriting a 1-15 team from George Seifert, he’s never had consecutive winning seasons in his eight years on the job. The Panthers have also never finished worse than 7-9.