Pete Carroll Named USC Football Coach

Dec. 15, 2000

LOS ANGELES - Pete Carroll, who led the New England Patriots to the NFL playoffs twice in 3 years, has been named USC's head football coach, Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett announced today.

Carroll, who also has coached on the college level for 10 years, has 26 years of NFL and college experience.

'About a dozen high-profile coaches expressed interest in this job,' said Garrett. 'Because of that, it was important for us to be very thorough and deliberate in our search for a new coach.

'I offered the job to Pete Carroll three years ago, but he couldn't take it. I'm excited that he's finally here. We've recruited very well the last few years and, at the same time, our football team has had great academic success. Now, it's time to have success on the field. With Pete Carroll, I believe we will do that.

'First of all, he's an outstanding teacher with high personal values. Second, he's a great communicator, which goes hand-in-hand with teaching. Third, he's a disciplinarian. Fourth, I like the way he coaches. His players grow and overachieve. Here he has the opportunity to get great players and succeed.'

Said Carroll, who signed a 5-year contract: 'This is a great opportunity for me and I'm very excited. There's a great heritage at USC and this school should be successful. My expectation level is very high. It's no secret that the Rose Bowl should always be the goal for USC, but talk doesn't get it done. We need to get to work right now.

'On offense, we want to be wide open. Balance is important, but we'll spread the field, formation-wise, to boost the passing game. It will also open up the running game. Defensively, I'll be very much involved. We'll have an aggressive, attacking style, which our players should love playing. And I see no reason why we shouldn't attract some of the greatest players in America to USC.'

Carroll, 49, was the head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots for 3 seasons (1997-99) and New York Jets for 1 year (1994). He guided the Patriots into the playoffs in his first 2 seasons, winning the AFC Eastern Division title at 10-6 in 1997 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, then posting a 9-7 regular season mark in 1998. His overall record in New England was 27-21 in the regular season (including 8-8 in 1999) and 1-2 in the playoffs. He owns the franchise's second-best winning percentage (54.9%).

After serving as the Jets' defensive coordinator for 4 seasons (1990-93), he became the team's head coach the following season. His 1994 Jets went 6-10. Only 3 other Jets head coaches won more games in their rookie campaign.

He spent the next 2 years (1995-96) as the defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC Western Division title both seasons. The 49ers were 11-5 in the 1995 regular season when they had the NFL's top-ranked defense and then went 12-4 in 1996.

Carroll began his coaching career at the college level, serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Pacific, for 3 years (1974-76), working with the wide receivers and secondary. He then spent a season each as an assistant in charge of the secondary at Arkansas (1977) under Lou Holtz as the Razorbacks won the 1978 Orange Bowl, at Iowa State (1978) under Earle Bruce (the Cyclones played in the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl) and at Ohio State (1979) under Bruce. That Buckeye squad lost to USC in the 1980 Rose Bowl.

He next spent 3 seasons (1980-82) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at North Carolina State, then returned to Pacific in 1983 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.

He entered the NFL in 1984 as the defensive backs coach of the Buffalo Bills, then held a similar position with the Minnesota Vikings for 5 seasons (1985-89). The Vikings advanced to the playoffs his last 3 years there, getting to the NFC Championship game in 1987. The 1988 team was 11-5 in the regular season and the 1989 squad won the NFC Central Division crown with a 10-6 mark. His secondary averaged 25 interceptions a season and led the NFL in passing defense in 1989.

Carroll spent the 2000 season as a consultant for pro and college teams and doing charitable work for the NFL.

Carroll was a 2-time (1971-72) All-Pacific Coast Conference free safety at Pacific and earned his bachelor's degree in 1973 in business administration. He received his secondary teaching credential and a master's degree in physical education from Pacific in 1976.

He was a 3-sport (football, basketball and baseball) standout at Redwood High in Larkspur, Calif., earning the school's Athlete of the Year award as a senior. He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. He then played football at Marin Junior College in Kentfield, Calif., in 1970.

He was born on Sept. 15, 1951 in San Francisco. He and his wife, Glena, who played volleyball at Pacific, have 3 children: sons Brennan, 21, a junior tight end at Pittsburgh (he previously played at Delaware), and Nathan, 13, and daughter Jaime, 18, a freshman on the USC women's volleyball team which competed in the NCAA Final Four this week. His late father-in-law, Dean Goranson, received his master's degree from USC.



Bud Grant, former Minnesota Vikings head coach: 'He's got that intangible I think head coaches have to have. There's an instinct you have to have. A lot of excellent coaches can't be head coaches. We used to talk a lot. He was always interested in the whys of things, and not just in his sphere. He wanted to know: `Why do this? Where did you get this idea? Where did you come up with that idea? You do it differently. Why?' I think that has made him a better coach. Pete is special. He's the right kind of guy. Honorable. He has a good philosophy of the game, he teaches good technical skills and he understands the abilities of his players. The thing that helps Pete the most as a head coach is his ability to see the whole picture. Some head coaches don't have that ability to be able to stand in the middle of a practice field and know everything that's going on. And he's secure enough in his knowledge and his ability to take what he learns on the practice field and use it to make the tough decisions and stand by them. Pete has all of that and more.'

Paul Wiggin, Minnesota Vikings defensive line coach during Carroll's tenure: 'There was something there about Pete that Bud Grant saw. The thing that was so interesting about Pete is that he always studied Bud. Pete has football genius about him. He knows how to simplify and unscramble. The thing that's neat about Pete is that, when he calls a meeting, players will look forward to going. I think Pete will be an overwhelming success. I would bet on Pete Carroll.'

Jerry Burns, former Minnesota Vikings head coach: 'Pete is a very, very smart guy. Very innovative. He's football-wise. His rapport with players is excellent.'

George Seiffert, former San Francisco 49ers head coach: 'He's got quite an energy level. In fact, we kid him about being so hyper. I've been impressed by the way his players play, the enthusiasm with which they play.'

Steve Sidwell, New England Patriots defensive coordinator under Carroll: 'Pete is one of the brightest defensive minds I've ever been around.'

Bill Walsh, former San Francisco 49ers head coach: 'Pete is one of those unique, dynamic people with great charisma who has a gift. I don't think there's anybody better.'

Steve Gutman, New York Jets president during Carroll's tenure: 'He's a good guy in a business not famous for good guys. He has achieved a rare balance of man-husband-father-coach.'

Chester Caddas, Carroll's Pacific head coach: 'I loved Pete as a player. He was a tremendous college player. He truly loved the game. He was intense and he was smart and he looked forward to every snap. I knew once he committed himself 100 percent to coaching, he would make a great coach. He had an idea every 30 seconds. He also had great knowledge of the technical aspects of the game, on both sides of the ball. But most importantly, the players liked him. He was honest and upbeat. Whatever Pete tells you, you can go to the bank with. I think players appreciate that. One thing Pete has always had is an ability to deal with people. I think people enjoy his enthusiasm. He's always upbeat, but he's never out of control. I don't think I've ever seen him down.'

Bob Troppman, Carroll's Redwood High head coach: 'Pete was born to coach. His mind was always going. Even when he was playing Pop Warner and freshman football, he was the guy in the huddle drawing plays in the dirt. He was always off someplace working out new drills. He's really an ingenious type of guy. He's always been an innovator, always a step ahead.'


Willie McGinest, New England Patrios defensive end under Carroll: 'Pete will be a good college coach. He'll be a good guy for the job at USC. In my opinion, he's a good coach, he's approachable, you can speak to him, he's energetic, he knows how to motivate guys and he's also knowledgeable about the game. His style fits the college game, especially USC. College kids will definitely relate to him. His energy suits college guys. They'll love him.'

Eric Davis, San Francisco 49ers All-Pro cornerback under Carroll: 'He listens to the players. We have a voice. Everybody is not going to be happy. But, if you have a problem, you can go to him. He's a teacher. He wants to make sure that everybody not only knows what to do, but why they're doing it. That makes us better.'

Lawyer Milloy, New England Patriots strong safety under Carroll: 'We all believe in his system, we all believe in the type of coach he is. He's a great coach and I love playing for the guy.'

Tim McDonald, San Francisco 49ers safety under Carroll: 'Anyone who calls a corner blitz when there's 99 yards to go has some big kanoodles. And he's definitely got them. He's not afraid to take a chance.'

Bart Oates, San Francisco 49ers center under Carroll: 'His enthusiasm is infectious.'

Marvin Washington, New York Jets defensive end under Carroll: 'Pete expects hard work and we have to give it to him.'

Art Monk, New York Jets end under Carroll: 'His optimism and enthusiasm. I've never been around a coach like Pete. He gives energy.'

Junior Bryant, San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle under Carroll: 'He thinks he's a comedian in meetings. He'll always put a little smart remark in to loosen guys up. But joking aside, he's all business. He's fiery and upbeat and he has a positive attitude.'


Clark Judge, Jose Mercury News: 'Carroll would be the perfect fit for USC. He is from the West Coast. He was a successful defensive coordinator and experienced head coach in the NFL. He is a superb tactician. He is energetic. He is charismatic. In short, he is everything you'd want from your next college football coach. Don't you want someone coaching your team who can, first, get the talent, then, know how to use it? He proved he could win with ordinary talent and without having complete authority in New England. Carroll is a lead-pipe cinch for a head coaching position somewhere. He is young, he is enthusiastic, he is articulate, he works well with the media, he works better with his players and, most important, he does his job as proficiently as anyone in the business. Nobody will accuse Carroll of running with the pack. He quotes Jerry Garcia, splices film clips of beavers at work in with defensive highlight footage, used to surf the aisles of charter flights on cafeteria trays and, yes, spends afternoons after practice running with a football.'

C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle: 'He is the kind of guy who can take a player to unexpected heights by sheer force of enthusiasm. The Jets players loved him in his four years as defensive coordinator, which was why he was an enormously popular choice to become their head coach. He's a great guy, talkative, bright and cooperative.'

Mike Lupica, Newsday: 'He is a good coach. Everyone talks about how hard the Jets played for Pete Carroll.'

Bob Glauber, The Sporting News: 'Jets owner Leon Hess made a huge mistake when he fired Carroll after only one season. Carroll's ingenious schemes and player-friendly personality would have eventually turned around the Jets.'

Glenn Dickey, San Francisco Chronicle: 'He's bright and personable, able to relate to players and the media. Carroll did a great job in both coaching the 49ers defense and coming up with imaginative game plans. One of his biggest assets is his flexibility. The trick, always, is to keep the offense off-balance. Carroll is a master at that.'

John Crumpacker, San Francisco Examiner: 'Carroll's belief is to make fun what is often taken so darn seriously, this business that masquerades as a game.'

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: 'Pete Carroll permeates his energetic lightning-rod touch among his players and coaches. But part of Carroll's style is toughness.'



1974 Pacific Graduate assistant/wide receivers 6-5 Chester Caddas

1975 Pacific Graduate assistant/secondary 5-6-1 Chester Caddas

1976 Pacific Graduate assistant/secondary 2-9 Chester Caddas

1977 Arkansas Secondary coach 11-1 (Orange) Lou Holtz

1978 Iowa State Secondary coach 8-4 (Hall of Fame) Earle Bruce

1979 Ohio State Secondary coach 11-1 (Rose) Earle Bruce

1980 North Carolina State Defensive coordinator/secondary coach 6-5 Monte Kiffin

1981 North Carolina State Defensive coordinator/secondary coach 4-7 Monte Kiffin

1982 North Carolina State Defensive coordinator/secondary coach 6-5 Monte Kiffin

1983 Pacific Asst. head coach/offensive coordinator 3-9 Bob Cope

1984 Buffalo Bills Defensive backs coach 2-14 Kay Stephenson

1985 Minnesota Vikings Defensive backs coach 7-9 Bud Grant

1986 Minnesota Vikings Defensive backs coach 9-7 Jerry Burns

1987 Minnesota Vikings Defensive backs coach 8-7* (2-1) Jerry Burns

1988 Minnesota Vikings Defensive backs coach 11-5* (1-1) Jerry Burns

1989 Minnesota Vikings Defensive backs coach 10-6** (0-1) Jerry Burns

1990 New York Jets Defensive coordinator 6-10 Bruce Coslet

1991 New York Jets Defensive coordinator 8-8* (0-1) Bruce Coslet

1992 New York Jets Defensive coordinator 4-12 Bruce Coslet

1993 New York Jets Defensive coordinator 8-8 Bruce Coslet

1994 New York Jets Head coach 6-10 -

1995 San Francisco 49ers Defensive coordinator 11-5** (0-1) George Seiffert

1996 San Francisco 49ers Defensive coordinator 12-4** (1-1) George Seiffert

1997 New England Patriots Head coach 10-6** (1-1) -

1998 New England Patriots Head coach 9-7* (0-1) -

1999 New England Patriots Head coach 8-8 -

*Advanced to playoffs

**Division champions and advanced to playoffs

Now on Pac-12 Network
2:00 PM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder