The Carolina Panthers now have someone to lead their tight ends—and they didn’t have to go too far to get him.
As announced on Thursday evening, and hinted on by Joe Person of The Athletic late Monday night, the team is hiring John Lilly as their new tight ends coach. He has worked at the University of North Carolina in the same position, as well as a run game coordinator this past season, since 2020.
Lilly brings over 30 years of sideline experience to Charlotte. His coaching career began in 1991, as an assistant coach for Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, N.C.
After four years there, Lilly cracked into the college game with Florida State University. He spent 12 seasons with the Seminoles—going from a videographer to a graduate assistant to a tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.
He then went on to coach the tight ends at the University of Georgia for eight years, a stop that saw him as the special teams coordinator for his final two campaigns as well. That’s also where Lilly crossed paths with new Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who was the running backs for the Bulldogs in 2015.
Lilly, additionally, has two prior one-year stints as a tight ends coach in the NFL—the first for the Los Angeles Rams in 2016 and the second for the Cleveland Browns in 2019.