Of all the coaching changes that have been taking place with the Carolina Panthers, there has been one that many fans have been paying careful attention to: the Running Backs Coach. This coaching position has been held by Jim Skipper since 2002, and has been one of the few spots on the team that has stayed consistently good over those years. Fans may fondly recall the success of Stephen Davis in 2003, or the fact that the Panthers even kept a strong running game in 2005 despite injuries that led to having to turn to Nick Goings, the team’s sixth string running back. More recently, of course, Skipper has helped to turn Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart into one of the most powerful tandems in the NFL. That, along with the advancement of Mike Goodson and Tyrell Sutton, has caused many fans to very much want Skipper to return to this position.
Bad news: It now appears that the Carolina Panthers will not be keeping Skipper. He was interviewed for the job, but told The Charlotte Observer that it appears he will not be retained.
All of the current running backs on the team have been lobbying to keep Skipper around. With Deangelo Williams being a free agent this year (as well as rumors going around that teams like Miami are strongly interested in signing him), many are concerned that he will not be with the team next season. Williams has suggested that his decision to stay with this team or sign with another very well may be based on whether or not Skipper is retained as the Running Backs Coach.
We will have to wait a little bit longer to find out how this affects the team, but it appears that Skipper will likely be going into retirement now. If so, he leaves this team having the appreciation of many fans who want to thank him for all of the precious memories over the years that he coached these running backs.