Ron Rivera’s Wife Used to Coach in the WNBA
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera managed to squeeze into the playoffs via an NFC East Division title, despite having a sub-.500 record in his first year in charge.

While Rivera is one of the most recognized coaches in the NFL, he’s not the only member of his family with professional coaching experience.

His wife, Stephanie Rivera, was a former WNBA assistant coach, too.

Ron Rivera’s Wife

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Ron Rivera met his wife Stephanie Tamayo while attending the University of California. Ron, was a star linebacker for Cal’s college football team, whilst Stephanie was the starting point guard on the women’s basketball team.

The couple were engaged in 1983 and married shortly after, at which point Rivera was drafted by the Chicago Bears and commencing his NFL career.


Together, Ron and Stephanie have two children, Christopher and Courtney.

After an injury to her knee ended Stephanie’s playing career in basketball, she used her competitive spirit to get into coaching, and eventually became the assistant coach of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. She stepped down from the role in order to spend more time with her family, and began coaching at the AAU level.

Ron Rivera Coaching Career

Following his career with the Chicago Bears, Rivera became an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Rivera re-joined the Bears as its defensive coordinator in 2004, a position he held for three years before taking the same position on the San Diego Chargers. While in San Diego, Stephanie coached Courtney’s high school basketball team.

After three seasons in San Diego, Rivera took over as head coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2011, relocating his family to Charlotte. He ended up making Super Bowl 50 after a 15-1 season in 2015, but lost out to the Denver Broncos. Rivera also earned NFL Coach of the Year honors in 2013 after leading the Panthers to a 12-4 record.


Rivera stuck around in Carolina until the conclusion of the 2019 campaign. He then joined the Washington Football Team (then the Redskins) in the offseason, and took over as head coach for the 2020 campaign.

After a wild regular season in D.C., featuring the return of Alex Smith and the ousting of Dwayne Haskins, the Football Team is geared up as a dark horse in the NFL playoffs.

The Rivera family’s adaptation to Washington D.C. was delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak and coronavirus pandemic, but the head coach plans to get more familiar with the city in due time.

Medical Struggles

In 2020, Rivera revealed via social media that he was enduring a battle with cancer, but planned to keep coaching. It was an especially concerning revelation, considering one of his brothers, Mickey, passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Fortunately, Rivera’s cancer was deemed to be easily treatable and curable. With the support of his family, Rivera has been able to stay on the field and help guide the Washington Football Team through what has been an unusual season in the NFL.

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Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
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