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Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers celebrates with Cam Newton #1 after defeating the Arizona Cardinals with a score of 49 to 15 to win the NFC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

By NAN Sports Writer

News Americas, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Sun. Feb. 7, 2016: One of the only Latino coach in the National Football League, (NFL), today, Puerto Rico roots Coach Ron “Riverboat Ron” Rivera was last night named the AP Coach Of The Year at the NFL Awards in California.

Rivera, head coach of the Carolina Panthers, choose not to attend the awards in preparation for today’s game. He instead accepted the honor via a video message in which he accepted on behalf of the team and other coaches of the Panthers as well as his family including his dad and Vietnam veteran Eugenio Rivera and late brother Mickey, who passed away from pancreatic cancer recently.

It was the second time in three seasons Rivera has earned the award.

Rivera and the Panthers, doubted by some and questioned by many this season, managed to keep a record 17-1 season. He and the Panthers went on to win the first NFC Championship over the Arizona Cardinals for only the team’s second chance to play in the Super Bowl, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. today at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., home of the San Francisco 49ers.

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Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers has Puerto Rico roots. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Rivera is only the fourth Latino head coach ever to serve in the National Football League, (NFL). He was born to a Puerto Rican-father and a Mexican roots mother in Fort Ord, California. Rivera’s father’s family still calls Puerto Rico home.

Rivera has credited his Hispanic roots and military upbringing as vital to his success.

He recently credited his Puerto Rican dad in an interview with Fox News Latino stating: “”The biggest thing, and I get this from my father, is to stick to your core values. Don’t ever forget where you came from,” he says. “Something that I’ve also learned and believe is that if you want something in life, go get it – because they are not going to send a limo. And finally, I know this much: you truly don’t have all the answers. You have to communicate, collaborate, listen and discuss.”

Meanwhile, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was named NFL MVP at Saturday night’s NFL Honors show. Newton became the first black quarterback to win The Associated Press award outright.

RELATED: Puerto Rican Roots Head Coach Leads Panthers Into Play-Offs

 

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