Skip to main content
Carolina Panthers

Wilks to tutor defensive backs


CHARLOTTE - Steve Wilks, a coach familiar with the Panthers' coaching staff and the city of Charlotte, was named Carolina's secondary coach/passing defense coordinator Monday.

A Charlotte native who attended West Charlotte High School, Wilks worked with Panthers head coach Ron Rivera on the San Diego Chargers staff as well as with the Chicago Bears. Wilks coached the Chargers' secondary the past three years and served as the team's assistant head coach last season.

Wilks replaces defensive backfield coach Ron Meeks, who was one of two coaches retained last season when Rivera took over as head coach. Meeks was the Panthers' defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010.

The Chargers ranked 31st in the NFL in pass defense the season before Wilks' arrival but ranked 11th in 2009, first in 2010 and 13th this past season. Rivera and Wilks formed a formidable defensive duo in 2010, when Rivera served as defensive coordinator and the Chargers led the NFL in total defense and pass defense.

The Panthers ranked 24th in pass defense this past season. Only six teams allowed more touchdown passes (28) than the Panthers, and the team's 14 interceptions tied for the third-lowest total in franchise history.

Wilks played defensive back at Appalachian State from 1987-91 before beginning his coaching career in 1995. After stops at several small colleges, he served as Notre Dame's defensive backs coach in 2004 and held a similar role at the University of Washington in 2005 before joining the NFL ranks.

He was defensive backs coach for the Bears from 2006-08, with Rivera serving as the Bears' defensive coordinator in '06. They reunited in San Diego in 2009.

Related Content