It took Ron Rivera nine interviews to land a head-coaching job and three seasons to turn the Panthers into a winner.
But people are beginning to notice Riverboat Ron.
Rivera, who led the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time in five years this season, was named the Pro Football Writers of Americas Coach of the Year on Thursday.
Rivera was the NFC Coach of the Year in the NFL 101 Awards announced earlier this week.
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.
Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey was voted the PFWAs Executive of the Year. Former San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, hired as the Tennessee Titans coach this weeks, was named the Assistant Coach of the Year by the PFWA.
The Panthers went 12-4 in 2013 after two losing seasons under Rivera, who was thought to be in danger of losing his job after the Panthers started 0-2.
But Riveras decision to break from his conservative tendencies and become more aggressive on fourth downs earned him his nickname and helped instill confidence in his team. After falling to 1-3 after a road loss to Arizona, the Panthers rattled off 11 wins in 12 games to claim the NFC South title for the first time since 2008.
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.
Current general manager Dave Gettleman declined to discuss Riveras contract this week but said he had ultimate faith in Ron moving forward.
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