For Pete Carroll and Seahawks, a match that may stick
By Sam Farmer and Gary Klein
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Why would Pete Carroll leave USC for the Seattle Seahawks when he rejected the entreaties of other NFL teams?
And why is Carroll, who had a mediocre record as an NFL coach, attractive to the Seahawks?
For Carroll, 58, the job offers spectacular money — about $35 million over five seasons — and complete control of personnel decisions as coach and president of the team. A source familiar with the situation told the Los Angeles Times on Friday a deal is nearly complete.
Carroll has always felt he would have been more successful as coach of the New York Jets and New England Patriots had he had the final say on players with those organizations.
What’s more, the Seahawks are on the West Coast — where Carroll wants to stay — play in a weak division, possess two first-round draft picks in April and have a number of talented players, among them former USC defensive standouts Lofa Tatupu and Lawrence Jackson.
Whereas some NFL teams have meddlesome owners, the Seahawks have the almost invisible Paul Allen, the league’s richest owner. He has invested a fortune in the club’s state-of-the-art stadium and luxurious new practice facility.
Carroll also has ties to the franchise. The Seahawks’ chief executive is Tod Leiweke, whose brother, Tim, is president and chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center and has worked closely with Carroll over the years.
The club’s lead attorney is Lance Lopes, brother of USC’s Steve Lopes, a senior associate athletic director who handles football scheduling.
And, of course, the timing could indicate turbulence ahead for USC, whose athletic department has been under investigation by the NCAA since 2006 regarding allegations concerning Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.
So what intrigues the Seahawks about Carroll, a coach who was 33-31 in the NFL?
Clearly, the Seahawks think he can be much better than that. Carroll has established himself as one of the best college coaches in history, with a 97-19 record in nine seasons. However, there is much speculation he’s better suited for college than the pros, and his ability to recruit players will not give him a significant advantage in the NFL.
But Carroll’s ability to coach players is only part of the story for the Seahawks, who will spare no expense to find a marquee leader to replace Mike Holmgren, now president of the Cleveland Browns. The Seahawks expect Carroll’s energy and charisma to help reignite fan interest.
Late Friday, ProFootballTalk.com pointed out a potential problem: The Seahawks had requested an interview with Vikings assistant Leslie Frazier, which would have satisfied the Rooney Rule that a minority candidate be considered.
Frazier is represented by Bob LaMonte, who also represents Jim Mora, the coach fired by the Seahawks after one 5-11 season. It’s unclear how willing LaMonte is to help the team hire Carroll. LaMonte could not be reached for comment.