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Ron Rivera to receive the 2021 Hispanic Heritage Sports Award

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

NFL Coach & Inspirational Cancer Advocate Joins Carlos Santana and Kali Uchis As The Third Honoree Announced for the 34th HISPANIC HERITAGE AWARDS’ PBS Broadcast on October 8th

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) announced today that two-time NFL Coach of the Year, and most recent NFC Coach of the Year Ron Rivera of The Washington Football Team will be recognized with the Sports Award on the October 8th PBS broadcast of the 34th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards.

“I am thrilled to honor Coach Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team with the Hispanic Heritage Award for Sports,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “Coach Rivera has been a source of inspiration on and off the football field through his success as a coach and as a cancer survivor.  Through the Awards, we will explore Coach Rivera’s journey which includes growing up in the military, playing and coaching in the NFL including Super Bowls, battling cancer, and his distinct leadership style based on his values.”

With a combined Puerto Rican and Mexican American heritage, Ron Rivera became only the third Latino head coach in NFL history- continuing the legacy of Hall of Fame members Tom Fears & Tom Flores.  Raised with frequent moves throughout the country and around the world due to his father’s dedicated service in the U.S. Military, Rivera went on to win a football scholarship to the University of California, where he became a consensus All-American, Pac-10 Defensive Player of the year and finished his career as the school’s all-time leader at the time in sacks. As a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears, Rivera became the first player with Puerto Rican heritage to win a Super Bowl title, and he went on to a nine-year career with the team, including recognition as their 1988 Man of the Year for ‘significant positive impact on the community.’

Following his retirement as a player and quickly working his way up the ranks of respected position coaches and defensive coordinator positions across time with the Eagles, Bears and Chargers, Rivera brought landmark diversity back to the league when he was named Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2011 and became the first-ever Latino Head Coach to be named NFL Coach Of The Year in 2013. He earned the recognition a second time in 2015, as he brought the team to their third straight divisional title and an appearance in Super Bowl 50.  Now about to begin his impressive 25th overall year coaching in the NFL, Rivera is set to start his second season leading The Washington Football Team, and currently holds NFC Coach of the Year honors for guiding the team to a division title in his first year helming the historic franchise.

Already a dedicated advocate for both the Humane Society, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (in memory of his own brother who succumbed to the disease in 2015), Rivera’s first year in Washington was made far more challenging, but also widely inspirational with his own cancer diagnosis for squamous cell carcinoma in August of last year – with him undergoing treatment for the disease throughout the course of the season without missing one game the entire year.

This year’s Awards, modeled after last year’s PBS broadcast, will once again feature more intimately filmed performances and Honoree segments captured on location across the United States and Latin America.  Last year’s program had the highest ratings and reached more people in the PBS Broadcasts’ history with Awardees including Bad Bunny, Selena Gomez, Linda Ronstadt, Jessica Alba, John Lewis, and our Farmworkers, with performances by Sebastian Yatra, Jessie Reyez, Sech, Calma Carmona, Flor de Toloache and a grand finale tribute to Linda Ronstadt anchored by The Mavericks featuring Latina vocalists: Joy Huerta of Jesse and Joy, Lupita Infante, La Marisoul of La Santa Cecilia, Gaby Moreno and Carla Morrison.

The Hispanic Heritage Awards, produced by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, were created by the White House in 1988 to commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in America and is among the highest honors by Latinos for Latinos and supported by 40 national Hispanic-serving institutions. For a video, visit

About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Awards serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round programs focused on education, workforce, social impact through the lens of leadership.   HHF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  For more information, visit and follow the Hispanic Heritage Foundation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

 For more information on the Awardscontact John Reilly at (

To sponsor the Awards, contact Jessica Herrera (


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