CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers fired general manager Marty Hurney on Monday after the team lost eight of its last nine games and failed to make the playoffs for a third straight season.
“I notified Marty that we would not be extending his contract beyond the 2020 season,” team owner David Tepper said. “This was a difficult decision. Marty has been a valuable member of our franchise and there is no way to convey my level of respect for him. We sincerely appreciate his hard work over 19 seasons and wish him well moving forward.”
Hurney’s contract was set to expire after the season.
Tepper said it became clear they had different ideas about the structure of the team’s football operations after recent conversations with Hurney. He said he respected Hurney’s traditional approach but wants to blend a more “data-driven process.”
“I think Marty is a little more traditional and I am more data-driven and analytical,” Tepper said. “I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh. We did it last year on the coaching side. Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I’m sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides. I think it’s just time, on both sides, to do that. It just seems like the right time to move forward.”
The team will begin its process of finding a replacement GM immediately.
“Quite frankly, I think it was good for Matt and I think it was good for me to have another year with Marty,” Tepper said. “Marty’s a great guy to have as a teacher and a person like that around. People think you can come in here -- even though I wasn’t around football for a while, and wasn’t there -- and know what you’re doing. Sometimes it’s not bad to have a good teacher around to teach you some aspects and sometimes you graduate and try to figure out if you can do other things away from it.”
Hurney has served as the team’s general manager over two different stints, from 2002 to 2012 and again from 2017 to 2020.
Under Hurney, the Panthers made four playoff appearances, won two division titles and played in one NFC Championship, resulting in a trip to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Hurney drafted quarterback Cam Newton in 2011 and linebacker Luke Kuechly in 2012. Both players won NFL Rookie of the Year, making Carolina just the fourth team to have consecutive offensive or defensive rookies of the year since The Associated Press started presenting the awards in 1967.
Hurney also drafted the foundation of talent they’ll build on from here, including DJ Moore, Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Jeremy Chinn, and led the searches for and hired coaches John Fox, Ron Rivera, and head coach Matt Rhule.
“I want to thank Dave and Nicole for the opportunity to be a part of this organization over the last three seasons,” Hurney said. “I have a great relationship with Matt and everybody in the building. I believe this team is well-positioned for the future and wish Matt, the players and the entire organization all the best.”
Hurney originally joined the Panthers in 1998 as the director of football administration. He was named the director of football operations in 1999 before being named the club’s general manager in 2002.
Tepper said he has some names in mind for the position that he wants to interview, and Rhule will be involved in the search.
“You look at successful organizations, and there’s a certain alignment between the head coach and the GM,” Tepper said. “To think that you can do that without some sort of alignment is nuts. So to not have a head coach with some input into that is stupid. I don’t want to be stupid, OK?”
The Panthers are 4-10 this season after starting 3-2.
“This team could easily have another four wins,” Tepper said. “The eight games that we had the ball last to win or tie -- seven to win, one to tie -- if you win four of those games, you’re in a totally different position right now with this young team. So looking at next year, I’m very hopeful where we will be and what we will do.”
Hurney is the latest familiar face to leave the franchise this past year. In December of last year, the team fired head coach Ron Rivera after nine seasons.
Then in the offseason, former Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly retired. The team also released former league MVP Cam Newton and star tight end Greg Olsen.
Newton signed with the New England Patriots while Olsen signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
© 2021 Cox Media Group