CHARLOTTE – The Panthers made another hire to Frank Reich's staff Friday, agreeing to terms with Bert Watts to coach safeties.
Watts, who has 18 years of coaching experience and two in the NFL, comes to Carolina after a year coaching outside linebackers with the Broncos.
Here are five fast facts to know about Watts:
1. Connection to Evero, Capers: Watts worked alongside Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and senior defensive assistant Dom Capers at Denver in 2022. The Broncos' defense ranked seventh in the NFL in total defense last season, allowing 320 yards per game.
2. Collegiate coaching: Watts coached college football teams for 14 seasons, which included a stop as special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Auburn University in 2021. He coached linebackers at Memphis in 2020, with the Tigers earning top 20 Division I FBS rankings in red zone defense, turnovers forced, and fumbles recovered.
Watts worked at Fresno State for three years, coaching linebackers in 2017 and moving to the defensive coordinator job from 2018-19. He'd previously served as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at the University of California-Davis from 2013-16.
3. Early NFL staff experience: Watts' first NFL opportunity came with the Broncos in 2012. He worked as a staff assistant under head coach John Fox, Carolina's head coach from 2002-10, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who was the Panthers' defensive coordinator in 2002.
Before joining the Broncos, Watts spent two years as a defensive technical intern at the University of Colorado from 2010-11.
4. Coaching high schools, abroad: Some of Watts' earliest coaching experiences came at the high school level at two schools in Florida, where he worked as a defensive coordinator for Bishop Kenny High School in 2009 and defensive backs coach for Bartram Trail High School in 2008. Before then, he coached one year in the Austrian Football League, working as defensive coordinator for the Raiffeisen Vikings in 2007.
5. College playing days: Watts played college football at the University of California-Berkeley, leading the Golden Bears' defense with 80 tackles in 2002. He moved into his first coaching opportunity at his alma mater from 2004-05, when he worked as a graduate assistant at Cal. Watts' first season as a graduate assistant was Aaron Rodgers' last season in college before he entered the NFL, though the two never played together in college.