New Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich has put together one of the most diverse coaching staffs in the league. Among the group of men chosen to lead the Panthers you’ll find coaches with three years of NFL coaching experience, and coaches with over thirty years of NFL coaching experience. There are coaches who have little or no professional playing experience, and those who played over a decade. There are coaches who are in their 70’s, and coaches who are in their 30’s.
But even with the purposeful juxtaposition, there’s still one theme that’s emerging from this new staff – a theme of returning home.
Frank Reich called Charlotte home for years before moving to Indianapolis to lead the Colts. Assistant Head Coach Duce Staley was born and raised in West Columbia, South Carolina – starring at Airport High School and the University of South Carolina. Quarterbacks coach Josh McCown has called Charlotte home since 2017 and served as the quarterbacks coach at Myers Park High School.
Tuesday we learned about one more….
When it was announced that Jim Caldwell would serve as special assistant to Frank Reich, many wondered why a Super Bowl-winning coach of his caliber would accept an assistant role when his resume is clearly that of a head coach. During his first press conference as a member of the Panthers’ staff we learned that Caldwell wasn’t only enticed to return to the coaching ranks for an opportunity to work Reich – who he says he respects and knows he would have a good working relationship with – but the former Wake Forest head coach and first black head coach in the ACC is returning “home” himself.
“Literally, my family has called North Carolina home since 1993,” Caldwell said when asked what contributed to his return to coaching. “We’ve kept a home in North Carolina since that time. My children finished their high school years in this area. They consider this home. They went to college in this area. They married folks from down here. I’ve got a daughter in Mint Hill with her two boys and husband. I’ve got a son in Clemmons, North Carolina with his wife and two boys. And I have two boys in Raleigh.”
Even without the connections, the Panthers have put together an impressive staff, but the link to the Carolinas makes it more special. There’s something different about coming home.