Friday, January 8, 2010

VSR: Don't Do It, Pete

If the speculation is true, it's only a matter of days (hours?) before Pete Carroll leaves his job as head coach of USC to be the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Put it simply, I'm shocked.

Shocked because we've heard this rumor every year for the last 5-6 years and every year, Carroll rightly turns it down because let's face it. He loves the control of being the man at USC, he loves being able to motivate COLLEGE players, and he's a man with the perfect personality for the college environment.

Shocked because he's become part of the L.A. community with his foundation - A Better L.A. He's actively worked with former gang members and gang intervention programs to help solve problems in the city and he's not afraid to take unannounced trips to Skid Row late at night to provide moral support.

He'd give all that power and influence and good works to head back to the NFL - a place where he struggled. I call him absolutely insane and power-hungry.

Over this decade, he brought back USC into national prominence, won 2 titles, sent numerous guys to the pros and produced 3 Heisman Trophy winners/countless All-Americans. He's arguably the most successful coach of the decade along with Urban Meyer and Nick Saban and he could've made a legacy as one of the greatest coaches ever.

But he's throwing that away for what. Ego, more money and the first down year USC has had since his first season in 2001? To coach a terrible Seahawks team? I guess it does take one of the richest men in America to make you leave paradise.

I know the probe into Reggie Bush accepting benefits is a lot of heat. I know Joe McKnight's SUV situation was a lot of heat you didn't need in a bad season. But if Pete Carroll wanted a challenge, he got it at USC.

Carroll built that program back from nothing. He took it to the highest of highs and continued attracting the best players to keep it there. 7 Straight BCS Bowls is a phenomenal achievement. But now, after a terrible season, his challenge should be to show people he can rediscover his touch after falling off the mountain.

Speculation is that he and USC AD Mike Garrett weren't seeing eye-to-eye anymore. His ego has also seen him get rid of great coaches (Norm Chow) and his quality assistants (Steve Sarkisian, Lane Kiffin, DeWayne Walker, and others) are at other jobs.

But what's better for your legacy? Going back to a league that has chewed up other college coaches like a grinder (Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier) or treating USC like a pro program and mold young men into what being a pro is all about.

As a UCLA fan, I'm glad to see him go. I'm glad that the USC dynasty will end not just amidst turmoil but with an "abandon ship" order as Carroll, McKnight and Damian Williams are high-tailing it to the pros. But it's not the best decision.

It was fun/frustrating while it lasted. The Pete Carroll era is officially over apparently and he leaves the way he started, with a bad team. It's a shame he won't stick around to bring it through and add to his legacy. To me, thats a bigger challenge than dealing with a losing NFL team.

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