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Five things to know about Steve Wilks

Steve Wilks

CHARLOTTE – Carolina named Steve Wilks the team's interim head coach on Monday. Here are five fast facts to know about him in advance of his introductory press conference, which you can see live on


1: Deep roots in North Carolina: Charlotte is home to Wilks, who was born and raised in the city and attended West Charlotte High School. He went to college at Appalachian State University in Boone, where he played defensive back for the Mountaineers from 1987-91. Wilks also played one season of arena football with the Charlotte Rage in 1993. He started his coaching career as the defensive coordinator for Johnson C. Smith, Charlotte's Historically Black University, from 1995-96.

Steve Wilks, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis

2: History with the Panthers: Before coming back to be the Panthers' defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach in 2022, Wilks had worked as an assistant coach with Carolina from 2012-17 under Ron Rivera. During that time, he worked with the Panthers as a defensive backs coach (2012-14), an assistant head coach in 2015, and defensive coordinator in 2017.

Steve Wilks

3: NFL head coaching experience: Wilks, 53, brings NFL head coaching experience into his interim role at Carolina. He headed up the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 after six years as an assistant with the Panthers.

With Wilks, the Cardinals went 3-13. He spent the next year as a defensive coordinator with the Browns before returning to the college level for Missouri's defensive coordinator job in 2021.

4: Paying it forward: In 2021, Wilks established a scholarship with his wife, Marcia, at his alma mater. The Steve & Marcia Wilks Post-Graduate Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship is annually given to one Mountaineer student-athlete from an underrepresented population pursuing a graduate degree at the school. The recipient also receives an athletics department fellowship.

5: A "leader of men": Panthers owner David Tepper said in a Monday press conference he saw Wilks as the obvious choice for the interim position, thanks to his familiarity with the organization and people, head coaching experience, and leadership skills.

"It's good to have somebody internally that's familiar with the team and with the people in the building," Tepper said. "Steve is a leader of men. He has experience as a head coach, and I thought he was the best candidate in the building for that role."

"He's in a position to be in consideration for that position," Tepper said. "Obviously, if he does an incredible job, he does have to be in consideration for that."

Steve Wilks has coached in Carolina (2022, 2012-17), Cleveland (2019), Arizona (2018), San Diego (2009-11) and Chicago (2006-08) in the NFL.

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