CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Panthers wanted a coach who could pump some energy back into the team. What they got was a whole new brand of football and greater demands for the players.
John Fox was hired Friday as Carolina's new head coach, and the New York Giants defensive coordinator promised he would take a page from former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Knoll in committing himself to running the ball and toughening up a team that went 1-15 last season.
That's a far cry from the passing-oriented West Coast offense George Seifert ran the past three years and the finesse players he needed to perform it.
"Chuck Noll told me a long time ago that you better stop the run and you better be able to run," Fox said. "I think the toughness and the type of mentality you need to have to be successful in those two areas can carry over and lead you to success.
"Is that all you have to be good at? No. But in a quick philosophy, that's what I believe in."
Fox, never a head coach at any level, got a glowing review from Wellington Mara. The Giants owner reminded Panthers owner Jerry Richardson he had also recommended Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry for head coaching jobs during their careers.
"Well was absolutely the most enthusiastic supporter for John," Richardson said. "In doing our research, the thing that kept coming back from everyone was John's energy level and enthusiasm. Well felt very strong about that, too."
Fox was actually Carolina's third choice for the job. They were spurned by both Steve Spurrier, who went to the Washington Redskins, and Tony Dungy, who went to the Indianapolis Colts.
That left the Panthers deciding between Fox and Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, finally giving Fox a four-year deal worth about $1 million annually.
"It's been a long process," Fox said. "I always had the philosophy that I was going to do the best darn job in the one I have and someone will notice and I'll finally get it."
The 46-year-old Fox was denied a good opportunity to be a head coach last season because he couldn't interview with anyone until the Giants were done playing. By the time New York lost to the Ravens in the Super Bowl, only the Buffalo job was still available and Fox did not get that.
He wasted no time Friday explaining how things were going to be in Carolina, where the Panthers failed to win a game after Week 1, set an NFL record in losing 15 straight in a season and ranked last in the league in both offense and defense.
"It's going to be what I expect, and how they will be held accountable," Fox said. "It's either going to be get on board or not be here."
Fox will be the first Carolina head coach in four seasons who will not have general manager duties, although the Panthers still aren't hiring a GM.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.