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Richard Rodgers
Special Teams Coordinator
College:
California
Experience:
3

Bio

COACHING
In his first full season as the Panthers special teams coordinator in 2013, Richard Rodgers oversaw a unit that jumped to 13th in The Dallas Morning News special teams rankings one year after ranking last. The unit featured record-setting performances from kicker Graham Gano, punter Brad Nortman and kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr., while long snapper J.J. Jansen made the Pro Bowl.

Gano converted 24-of-27 field goal attempts, including a team-record and NFL-leading six from 50 yards or more. He also proved to be a weapon in the field position game, ranking first in the NFL with 79.7 percent of his kickoffs resulting in touchbacks - the highest touchback percentage in the NFL since 1992. Carolina ranked fourth in the league in opponents' average drive start of the 20.2-yard line following kickoffs.

Nortman set team records with a gross average of 47.8 yards, which ranked second in the NFC and fourth in the NFL, and net average of 41.6 yards, which ranked fourth in the NFC and fifth in the NFL. He became the first Panther since 2003 to be named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month, earning the award in December after compiling a 48.1-yard gross average and 44.0-yard net average as Carolina went 4-1 during the month.

Ginn set a franchise record and ranked fourth in the NFC and sixth in the NFL with a 12.2-yard punt return average, becoming the first Panthers punt returner to rank in the top 10 since 2008.

Rodgers joined the Panthers in 2012 as special teams assistant before taking over as special teams coordinator for the final seven games of the season. During those last seven games, Rodgers had a positive effect on the special teams' play, helping the Panthers improve from 31st to 14th in the NFL in punt return average and from 18th to 10th in punt coverage. Rodgers' unit also led the league in opponents' kickoff return average following a 30th-place finish in 2011.

He came to Carolina with 23 years of college experience. Rodgers coached at Holy Cross from 2005-11, spending his last six seasons as the defensive coordinator after handling the secondary in 2005. Rodgers developed the Crusaders into one of the top defenses in the Patriot League. Five players from his unit earned All-Patriot League honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

From 2001-04, Rodgers tutored the secondary at New Mexico State. During his tenure, the Aggies pilfered 45 interceptions, while lowering their passing yardage allowed in each of his final three seasons. Previously, Rodgers worked four years at Portland State from 1997-2000. He oversaw the Vikings' secondary and special teams in addition to serving as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator.

Prior to Portland State, Rodgers had a two-year stint at San Jose State, working with the secondary and special teams from 1995-96. He started his coaching career as an assistant at Diablo Valley Community College from 1989-94.

Rodgers also gained valuable exposure to professional football along the way. He participated in the NFL's Minority Internship Program with the Oakland Raiders during training camp in 1996 and then was the defensive backs coach for the Scotish Claymores of NFL Europe in 1998.

PLAYING AND PERSONAL
A two-time second-team All-Pac 10 Conference selection at California, where he was teammates with Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Rodgers was the Golden Bears' special teams captain for three seasons. He called "The Play" in the huddle to defeat Stanford in 1982. Rodgers was the second and fourth player to handle the ball on the famed five-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown on the final play of the game between the two rivals.

Rodgers then played linebacker and wide receiver for three seasons in the Arena Football League. He appeared in the league's first championship game in 1987, catching a 32-yard touchdown pass for the Denver Dynamite in Arena Bowl I.

He graduated from California with a degree in political science.

HISTORY
Defensive back: California 1980-83. Pro linebacker/wide receiver: Chicago Bruisers (AFL) 1987, Denver Dynamite (AFL) 1987, Los Angeles Cobras (AFL) 1988, Sacramento Attack (AFL) 1992. College coach: Diablo Valley Community College 1989-94, San Jose State 1995-96, Portland State 1997-2000, New Mexico State 2001-04, Holy Cross 2005-11. Pro coach: joined Panthers in 2012.

COACHING
In his first full season as the Panthers special teams coordinator in 2013, Richard Rodgers oversaw a unit that jumped to 13th in The Dallas Morning News special teams rankings one year after ranking last. The unit featured record-setting performances from kicker Graham Gano, punter Brad Nortman and kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr., while long snapper J.J. Jansen made the Pro Bowl.

Gano converted 24-of-27 field goal attempts, including a team-record and NFL-leading six from 50 yards or more. He also proved to be a weapon in the field position game, ranking first in the NFL with 79.7 percent of his kickoffs resulting in touchbacks - the highest touchback percentage in the NFL since 1992. Carolina ranked fourth in the league in opponents' average drive start of the 20.2-yard line following kickoffs.

Nortman set team records with a gross average of 47.8 yards, which ranked second in the NFC and fourth in the NFL, and net average of 41.6 yards, which ranked fourth in the NFC and fifth in the NFL. He became the first Panther since 2003 to be named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month, earning the award in December after compiling a 48.1-yard gross average and 44.0-yard net average as Carolina went 4-1 during the month.

Ginn set a franchise record and ranked fourth in the NFC and sixth in the NFL with a 12.2-yard punt return average, becoming the first Panthers punt returner to rank in the top 10 since 2008.

Rodgers joined the Panthers in 2012 as special teams assistant before taking over as special teams coordinator for the final seven games of the season. During those last seven games, Rodgers had a positive effect on the special teams' play, helping the Panthers improve from 31st to 14th in the NFL in punt return average and from 18th to 10th in punt coverage. Rodgers' unit also led the league in opponents' kickoff return average following a 30th-place finish in 2011.

He came to Carolina with 23 years of college experience. Rodgers coached at Holy Cross from 2005-11, spending his last six seasons as the defensive coordinator after handling the secondary in 2005. Rodgers developed the Crusaders into one of the top defenses in the Patriot League. Five players from his unit earned All-Patriot League honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

From 2001-04, Rodgers tutored the secondary at New Mexico State. During his tenure, the Aggies pilfered 45 interceptions, while lowering their passing yardage allowed in each of his final three seasons. Previously, Rodgers worked four years at Portland State from 1997-2000. He oversaw the Vikings' secondary and special teams in addition to serving as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator.

Prior to Portland State, Rodgers had a two-year stint at San Jose State, working with the secondary and special teams from 1995-96. He started his coaching career as an assistant at Diablo Valley Community College from 1989-94.

Rodgers also gained valuable exposure to professional football along the way. He participated in the NFL's Minority Internship Program with the Oakland Raiders during training camp in 1996 and then was the defensive backs coach for the Scotish Claymores of NFL Europe in 1998.

PLAYING AND PERSONAL
A two-time second-team All-Pac 10 Conference selection at California, where he was teammates with Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Rodgers was the Golden Bears' special teams captain for three seasons. He called "The Play" in the huddle to defeat Stanford in 1982. Rodgers was the second and fourth player to handle the ball on the famed five-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown on the final play of the game between the two rivals.

Rodgers then played linebacker and wide receiver for three seasons in the Arena Football League. He appeared in the league's first championship game in 1987, catching a 32-yard touchdown pass for the Denver Dynamite in Arena Bowl I.

He graduated from California with a degree in political science.

HISTORY
Defensive back: California 1980-83. Pro linebacker/wide receiver: Chicago Bruisers (AFL) 1987, Denver Dynamite (AFL) 1987, Los Angeles Cobras (AFL) 1988, Sacramento Attack (AFL) 1992. College coach: Diablo Valley Community College 1989-94, San Jose State 1995-96, Portland State 1997-2000, New Mexico State 2001-04, Holy Cross 2005-11. Pro coach: joined Panthers in 2012.

 

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