Ronald Eugene Rivera (born January 7, 1962) is the head coach of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. Rivera was a linebacker on the 1985 Chicago Bears, who won Super Bowl XX. Rivera was the defensive coordinator for the 2006 Chicago Bears, who won the National Football Conference championship and competed in Super Bowl XLI. He was the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers prior to being named coach of the Panthers.
Rivera learned under coaches who favor aggressive defensive philosophies, such as Buddy Ryan, Jim Johnson and Lovie Smith. He used to employ the 4-3 defensive scheme, but adopted a 3-4 defense as Chargers defensive coordinator.
Rivera was born in Fort Ord, California. His father was a Puerto Rican commissioned officer in the United States Army stationed in California. There he met his future wife, Rivera's mother of Mexican heritage. As a result of his father's military service, Rivera had to travel and was educated in military bases in Germany, Panama, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Finally his family moved to central California. There, he attended Seaside High School, where he first started playing football.