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Pete Carroll leaves USC to coach NFL's Seahawks

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0111pc2.jpgPete Carroll, who led the Trojans to seven Pac-10 titles and two national championships while becoming an icon in college football and L.A., has resigned to take over as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

"The nine years at USC have been the best years of my coaching life," Carroll said. "I will forever be indebted for the opportunity to represent this great university and would like to extend my thanks to President Sample and Mike Garrett for giving me the chance. For all the unforgettable memories, I want to thank the players, coaches and support staff who made it all possible. My family and I have been blessed, and we will always appreciate and respect our association with USC, our fans and the Trojan Family.

"The university graciously approached me to stay but this choice is about pursuing the great challenges of competing in the NFL and I found this opportunity too compelling to pass up."

The 58-year-old Carroll had a 97-19 (83.6 percent) record in his nine seasons (2001-09) at USC. He won a pair of national championships (2003-04), with the 2004 Trojans going a perfect 13-0. From 2002 to 2008, his teams posted seven consecutive Pac-10 titles (a conference record), BCS bowl game appearances (an NCAA record), 11-win seasons (an NCAA record) and AP Top 4 finishes.

"I had hoped this day would not come; this is a big loss to all of us," USC President Steven B. Sample said. "But we are proud of Pete Carroll and proud that the Seattle Seahawks recognize his talents and his accomplishments and are offering him this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He rewrote the book on college football and now he intends to do the same for professional football. And my guess is that he will succeed wonderfully.

"Every Trojan everywhere owes Pete a big debt of gratitude for what he did for USC and USC football these past nine years."

In his nine seasons, Carroll was at the helm of 35 victories over AP Top 25 teams (35-9 overall, 79.5%). He was 7-2 in bowl games, including 6-1 in BCS games, and USC became the first school to win three consecutive Rose Bowls. He went 16-2 against traditional rivals Notre Dame and UCLA.

"Pete Carroll propelled the USC football program to unparalleled heights and became a college football icon in doing so," Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett said. "All of us connected with the University and indeed, the entire Trojan family, thank him for everything that he did during his nine years at USC. He was a valued colleague and good friend. We're obviously sorry to see him go, but we congratulate him on the new challenge that he has accepted with the Seattle Seahawks and wish him the very best.

"Pete had an incredible run at USC as our football coach."

During his tenure with the Trojans, Carroll presided over the program's winningest era in its rich history. A search for his replacement has already begun.

"Pete built and left in place a truly outstanding organization," Garrett said. "While he leaves behind an impressive legacy, I am confident that we will find a new head coach who will continue the success to which we are accustomed at USC."

Sample lauded Carroll for his trademark energy and enthusiasm.

"He brought joy and grace back to the game," Sample said. "He filled the Coliseum to the rafters. He was an educator as much as a coach, and taught all of us by example how important it is to take personal responsibility for making the world a better place. Pete's work with the toughest gangs of Los Angeles through A Better LA is the stuff of legend.

"We will miss Pete, but he will always be a Trojan. And he and his family will always have a warm and welcoming home at the University of Southern California."

Carroll's teams established almost unheard-of records and stats that will live on in college football lore for decades to come. Take a look at all the USC accomplishments during the past nine seasons under Carroll, achievements that have "earned him a lasting place in our history," Sample said:

  • Several Pac-10-record winning streaks, including 35 home games, 34 overall games, 27 Pac-10 games and 24 Pac-10 home games
  • School records for winning 18 consecutive road games and 13 straight Pac-10 road games
  • Carroll was 62-14 in Pacific-10 games for a league-record 81.6 percent winning mark
  • USC was AP's No. 1 team in a national-record 33 straight polls
  • The Trojans were ranked in the AP Top 10 for a school-record 63 consecutive games
  • Carroll's teams were in the AP Top 25 for a school-record 102 consecutive games
  • His Trojans also set a NCAA record by scoring at least 20 points in 63 consecutive games
  • Under Carroll, USC was the first school to have three Heisman Trophy winners in a four-year span
  • Carroll also coached winners of the Walter Camp, Chuck Bednarik, Johnny Unitas, Doak Walker and John Mackey awards
  • In 2005, USC became the first school to have a 3,000-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard runners and a 1,000-yard receiver in a season
  • During Carroll's tenure, USC set Pac-10 records for home average and home total attendance, as well as school standards for overall and overall average attendance and home and season sellouts.

Individual feats also abounded during Carroll's nine seasons, as he produced 35 All-American first teamers and 53 NFL draft picks (including 14 first rounders, with a No. 1 selection in Carson Palmer and a No. 2 in Reggie Bush).

In 2009, Carroll was named collegiate Coach of the Decade by Lindy's magazine. He twice was named the National Coach of the Year and three times was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

While at USC, Carroll received a number of community awards after he helped found A Better LA, a non-profit group consisting of a consortium of local agencies and organizations working to reduce gang violence by empowering change in individuals and communities.

"I will continue to be committed to the community through our foundation, A Better LA," Carroll said.

Added Garrett, USC's athletic director: "We did everything we could to keep Pete at USC, but he was presented with a rare opportunity to really build a program in the NFL. We know he will do a great job with the Seahawks.

"We'll be rooting for him."

0111pc.jpg
After nine seasons, seven Pac-10 titles and two national championships with the Trojans, Pete Carroll is leaving USC to become head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. [Photo courtesy of Getty Images]

18 Comments

Wish you the best, Pete

Coach Carroll the USC Family wishes you the best of success in Seattle. It was truly a pleasure to watch Pete's Trojan's take the field of battle. I look forward to seeing your next success unfold with the Seahawks.

Pete has raised the notoriety of the University and
given Trojans a legacy to be proud of, What more could any man do? Best Wishes to him in his new quest.

Pete like his players, has no doubt dreamed of making it at the next level. GOOD LUCK and THANKS!

ESPN just published an interesting article on Mike Garrett and his mishandling of this whole situation.

"At a time like this, an athletic department needs strong, galvanic leadership. All USC has is Mike Garrett.

The athletic director won the 1965 Heisman Trophy as a running back. His elusiveness has carried over into athletic administration, where he has smoothly avoided accountability for the mounting messes on his watch.

When times are tough in TrojanLand, Garrett has a terrific little Wizard of Oz answer: He records messages that are broadcast on the school's athletic Web site. That's what he did on Jan. 3, when the school announced its self-imposed basketball sanctions.

That has one advantage, if you're Garrett. You don't have to answer any questions.

And there are plenty of questions to be answered. Namely: What are you going to do now?

Let's start with the purely pragmatic: If Garrett is allowed to keep his job and hire the next USC football coach, Trojans fans should hold their breath.

Before landing Carroll, his previous football hires were John Robinson Part II (like most sequels, not nearly as good as the original) and Paul Hackett (outright bust). Carroll has been a grand slam, but he was not Garrett's first choice.

Undoubtedly, the program is in such strong shape that it will attract high-end applicants. But don't underestimate Garrett's ability to bring in the wrong coach."


this information is jusst a little bit late

There is no way for any Trojans fans to handle the news without a heavy heart. Having said that, thank you for the wonderful memories, Coach Carroll. It's been a remarkable ride. Living in IN, having the bragging right over ND for the past 8 years is priceless. Wish you nothing but the best, Coach Carroll.

I am left with the words from the man himself, spoken during an interview with Ben on 8/28/07 in which he said that he never wanted to leave USC: "It's come up every year for six years now," said Carroll (about the NFL rumors). "I don't know how many times I have to say it: I'm not going anywhere." 'Nuff said. Farewell, Pete. Thanks for the last nine years. Now it's time for USC and the true Trojan Family to move on.

Pete
I would have wished you well except this change in your career has came in the convenient time considering that the school is under investigation. Shame, shame on you Pete

Lori Pierce

I can't help feeling a little like a jolted bride. I had hoped that Pete would stay and be a long term coach, helping USC through all the ups and downs of each season, eventually earning himself a statue on the University Mall. Having said that, I wish him well, and trust that he is really leaving because the offer and challenge were too great to pass up. As long as he doesn't go coach for another university, I will forgive him for leaving me. USC has a proud tradition of attracting wonderful student athletes in all areas of athletic competition-swimming, soccer, track and field, etc, as well as football, and we will continue to do so. Pete spoiled us greatly, and was wonderful at showing the world the spirit and style that is USC. But USC is not just football and we can always be proud to be Trojans no matter what is happening on the football field (and the marching band is the best no matter who wins the game!) Let's look forward to the change, hope for the best and show support for our football team, past and present. Let's try to have a thick skin towards those people who wish that this would be the end for USC. I predict that it won't be.

Thank you, Coach Carroll, for years of fun and excitement at USC, and for the wonderful memories. Though my heart is heavy with the news of your leaving USC, I wish you great success and personal fulfillment in Seattle. I'll follow your progress and, who knows - Seattle may become my favorite NFL team! All the best to you, Coach. Thank you again.

Coach Pete,
Thanks for 9 wonderful years. Best of luck up in Seatle. That said, many of us are disapointed he couldn't have this land on him after signing day. He could have been USC's John Wooden of football fame if he'd wanted. So sad.

Please God, not Harbaugh. Fight On!

Wha - hey! Pete's leaving?! Now, that's breaking news. I hope President Zumberge will be all over this. Oh, he's gone too?

(Sorry, Ben, just giving you a hard time.) ;^)

Here's my take. Pete has been loyal to SC, and until proven otherwise (like following Chow to westwood tech), he's a member of the Trojan Family. So, best of luck to you, Pete!

Next, everyone says we gotta get a "big name" but if y'all remember, Pete wasn't a big name back then either. And in fact, I have to admit I was one of those livid alums who pulled my donations that year and wrote a diatribe to Garrett and Sample about what a lousy hire that "washed up NFL failure" was. So, I have hope we'll be o.k.

Ben, keep up the good work. I hope you don't leave too. Your work on this site has been great for us.

Fight On!

CONGRATULATIONS PETE!!!! I am so very happy for you and wish you all the best! Thanks for all the awesome memories - you are the greatest college coach ever! Seattle is so very lucky to have you. My only reserve is being a 49er fan!

Good luck PC and thanx to Ben, Joyce, Morgon, Christy, Matt and the rest of the office staff for taking care of the Redwood guys.

Good luck. You will need it just like you needed USC after your last stint in the NFL.

Im so excited, I cant wait for the big day, I hope he doesnt get too drunk

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I read this post with great pleasure. Thanks for so useful news.

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