Tom Rowe to Step Down as Panthers Head Coach

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SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 14: Interim head coach Tom Rowe of the Florida Panthers directs the players during third period action against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the BB&T Center on March 14, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Maple Leafs 7-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Tom Rowe has decided not to return as the Florida Panthers head coach next season. Rowe filled the position on November 27, following the dismissal of Gerard Gallant.

Tom Rowe’s Interim Stint Ends

Rowe became a part of the Florida Panthers organization on November 9, 2013. He was hired as the head coach for their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. In 2015, the Panthers relocated the Rampage to the Portland Pirates, of whom Tom Rowe continued as head coach. During his first season with the Pirates, the Florida Panthers promoted him to work as their associate general manager. After deciding to release former head coach Gerard Gallant, Rowe filled his place and began his short-lived stint as the Panthers head coach.

The Florida Panthers are currently in 6th place in the Atlantic Division. With a measly 77 points, the organization has taken a hit coming off of a break-out year in 2016. The Panthers hold a 33-35-11 record over 79 games. Since Rowe replaced Gallant as interim head coach, the team has gone 22-26-10. Gallant got the boot after opening the season with an 11-9-1 record.

Two Roles too Much for Rowe

Currently juggling two administrative positions within the Panthers organization is a tedious task. Rowe openly took the brunt of Florida’s failures this season, admitting that “fans pay good money to come watch us play. When they’re not happy, you know what, I’m a big boy with thick skin”.

In retrospect, the interim head coach has had his ups and downs this season. On March 21, Tom Rowe approved Aaron Ekblad to play against the Carolina Hurricanes, despite recently missing four games with a concussion. Unfortunately for Ekblad, Rowe’s decision opened the door to a relapse that will likely sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

The Panthers finished their 2015-2016 campaign at the top of the Atlantic division. All things considered, this is a clear indicator that something has gone a miss as they flirt with the bottom of the division this season. Tom Rowe’s discontinuation as head coach will open a position to be filled, as the Panthers will be striving for recovery next year.

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