Pete Carroll Press Conference Quotes
USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you all for coming. Before we start, let me briefly say something about the hiring process of our new football coach. About a dozen high-profile coaches expressed interest in this job--and some of their names would surprise you. Remarkably, all of these coaches called us first, or had their representatives call us. Because of this interest, it was important for us to be very thorough and deliberate in our search for a new coach.
Some have asked us why we didn't discuss those names publicly. That was my decision. I felt it was important to be considerate of the candidates' feelings. We didn't want to jeopardize their current jobs, or hurt them in any way. I can tell you that I offered the job to only one other coach, and that occurred early in the process.
But finally our search is over, and I'm very optimistic about the future. I'm pleased to introduce Pete Carroll as our new head football coach--and you will meet him in just a moment.
We offered the job to Pete three years ago, but he couldn't take it at that time. 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, 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.
I can guarantee you that his players will grow.
Without talking any further, I would like to introduce our new coach at the University of Southern California, Pete Carroll.
USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll
I know this has been a long process and people in the media have worked very hard to try to keep track of it. You know Mike was a very elusive player and he maintained that elusive status through this process as well.
I have to begin by thanking Mike and his committee for giving me this opportunity, introducing me to President Sample and having an opportunity to meet with him and begin to get an understanding of his vision for this university. It's a process that is long and hard and we all worked our way through it.
Our time started awhile back. A few years back when Mike offered me the opportunity to come here, the timing wasn't right, but that has all changed now. I can't tell you how proud I am to represent this university. I grew up on the West Coast and I grew up knowing about USC and USC football. It just seems like it's part of my upbringing. So the opportunity to represent this university is a tremendous opportunity for me and I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have this chance.
Mike mentioned this, but throughout my days in coaching, I have always taken on the coaching job as the role of teacher. Teaching is extremely important the way I work and the way I try to get across my message. I think of myself as a communicator and I think I am one that can get my message across to anybody. I love coaching the fundamentals of the game, I love coaching strategy, technical side of the game. But even more so, I love coaching the part of the game that is about team building, about the character and striving for excellence. At this time, to have this opportunity to work with student-athletes in this formative time of their lives for a guy like me and the things that I like to do, this is a golden opportunity. Again, I'm just so excited about it.
There has been opportunities in the past to get into college football. I interviewed for the Stanford job a few years ago and it wasn't the right match. A few years later, I was in New York and offered another job in the Pac-10 and the time wasn't right. When this opportunity came up three years ago, we were in the midst of a championship run and a playoff run in New England and the timing just wasn't right. This time has brought together where the match is right, the time is right. Now it's my job to get it done. I think things have come together in a very special time for both of us, and I'm talking about the university and myself.
My style of football...I have always taught an aggressive, attacking style. In that, I have always wanted to focus on creating and highlighting the special talents of the people that I coach. What it calls for me to do is evaluate our players, evaluate our personnel, find out what they can do well and have a system that allows you to be adaptive and adjust so you can bring out the best they have to offer.
When I look the people who are here now and I spent a little time studying our team and some of the players, not at the great depth that I will in time. We have the caliber of athletes here to do the types of things that I know how to do very well. We can attract the kind of talent that can do the kinds of things that I knew we can do very well. To capsulize it, it's an aggressive, attacking style whether it's on offense, defense or special teams. It's all the same to me, I want to be proactive and not reactive and I have never felt that way about coaching this game.
Today's game, it's different. This is a time when the game is evolving. It's a wide open, spread the field, use the space, calling on the athletic ability of your players to take advantage of that. At this university, we have the players that can get that done. In all phases of our game, we have to learn to play a spread the field type of football. That's what we will have to do to win the Pac-10, that's what we will have to do to realize all the dreams that we want to realize.
We have the caliber of athletes and we can attract that kind of student-athlete to the university.
I want to say something about the tradition here. I grew up watching the tradition, watching the Rose Bowl, watching the UCLA and Notre Dame games at the end of the season. I always loved the spectacle of it, but when I look at the tradition here at SC, I don't think of the wins and the losses or the championships. What I focus on when I think about USC is its people. It's the people that made it so, those special competitive players that were at this university that made the tradition what it is. Why I focus there is I realize my calling is to find players who live up to that standard that was set by the people who have been here before.
Our recruiting efforts are to find those special kind of competitors, those people that always reach for the top. We look for ways to develop those people when they show they have those capabilties.
When I think of the tradition and I set forth with what we are going to do in the program, it is to find people that match that vision and I know we can get this done, it's all about the people.
Our team goals is simple here. What is the goal of all Pac-10 teams? It's to win the Rose Bowl and that's a beautiful thing. It's so clear, we know exactly what we are shooting for, exactly what lays out there. At this time to dream about a Rose Bowl victory or to talk about all the things we are going to do, talk is cheap right now. What we have to do is we have to get to work. We have to develop a work attitude and habits that will take us to where we want to go, that will take us to where we dream.
My personal goal about working here at USC is that every kid that we bring to this program graduated and goes on to do something special and serves as an ambassador for this university. There are so many success stories, so many opportunities to show what this path offers to them. The football will turn up if we can get the right kind of kids that have the attitude to excel on the field and in the classroom as they take off and serve us in the future.
I'm really excited, I'm pumped up about it, I can't wait to get working. My teams are going to play hard, they are going to play enthusiastically with a great intensity. You are going to see a fire about them and if you don't see it, we are not getting the job done. That's what I will bring. I have brought in everywhere I have been before and I know I can bring that here.
What is your first challenge?
My first challenge is to get organized for recruiting. We are behind in recruiting at this time, our coaches have been on the road working hard in order to maintain our status, but without a head coach it's difficult to secure those commitments although our guys with that have been able to do that to a certain extent. That's the first order of business.
Why are you qualified for this job at this time? Over the course of my career, I have the great fortune to work with wonderful coaches. I have had a great upbringing through coaches. I have had great experiences at an early age where I had a lot of responsibility. I have had the opportunity to be a head coach in the National Football League, which is as competitive of an arena as you can enter. I feel very good about the times that I have spent. I think I have been successful and have done good things at every place that I have been. I feel very confident in telling you that. I know that I have been able to get that done.
I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I just don't think at this time, I could be more prepared for jumping into this situation. I know some people want to ask the question how I will recruit young kids, I have been recruiting people all of my life. When you are selling an idea or concept or game plan, you are trying to get across what you want to get done from somebody and where you want to take them.
I recruited for years when I was in college. I have been on the other side of the couch when my children were recruited. I think at this time I understand the process more than I have ever have and I'm excited to jump back into it.
Have you made any coaching staff decisions? It's a large order of business. I talked about recruiting being the number one priority right now, but that is also going to go hand-in-hand with building our staff. We have some wonderful coaches here and I am looking forward to talking to them as soon as we get a chance to do that. That will happen in the next couple of days. I have some ideas already in mind about the coaches that I have been hearing and some other people that are outside. I don't know how it's going to come together.
How long do you feel it will take to bring USC back to prominence? We will be good when we are good. I know that's a trite way of saying it, but it takes time to get our program together. My expectations, personally, I always approach it right now. I want to get it done right now and that's how we'll set our course. That means when we are in games and we play well and we hold onto the football, we execute our offense, defense and special teams, we do the right things consistently, that's when you know you have a good club.
We want to go play football where we don't make mistakes, we don't hurt ourselves and that takes time. Whether or not our players are capable of doing that, I will find out.
My goal is to win right now.
How do you feel about not being the first choice? Well I have been an unpopular choice in many places. It is a challenge. I would say that to Mike and President Sample that I'm going to prove them right.
How have you learned to communicate and how to discipline? I'm a teacher. My approach to teaching is communication. If I can't understand who the learner is, if I don't understand what's important to them, how they receive the information then I can't be an effective teacher. That's where everything comes from. As far as how disciplined we are in our play and how well we execute our game, it's how well we teach and how well they learn. How long is it going to take? I'm not sure, but I know how we are going to go about it. We will be very demanding. We want things to be done impeccably well and precisely done in everything we do.
That is not to say that approach ends on the football field. The way we will approach our business is about doing everything right, doing the little things, taking care of business, taking care of your life.
You have been away from the college game for 17 years. What kind of adjustment will you have to make? If you can understand the process in the NFL of when we evaluate talent and when we draft players, work with free agents, in the draft process it's all about watching kids in college. I have been traveling to schools and have been in college settings my whole career. It might seem like it's different, it isn't different. It's football. I don't feel very unfamiliar with the college game at all. I had a very fortunate opportunity this year to spend time up and down the East Coast, watching the Big East games, I happened to see the Penn State-USC game at the Meadowlands to get a hands-on...getting a feel for it.
It's very exciting to be in the element of college football and to compare it to where I've been. I've been in the biggest stadiums, the biggest crowds, the most stressful heightened awareness games you have ever seen. There is something different about college football. I like the feel of it and the way the fans respond and how the game goes.
I just don't feel disconnected at all.
You coached Drew Bledsoe. How does Carson Palmer strike you at quarterback?
There are some similarities there and I don't want to go to deep there because I haven't done an in-depth evaluation. In stature, they are similar and in arm strength. I think Carson takes off and runs a little more than Drew did at this time in his career. He looks capable of doing that.
With all of the pressures of this job, why would you want it?
That's an interesting question. You know I will tell you that I went through a process a few years ago to go to Denver or San Francisco as the defensive coordinator when Mike Shanahan took the head coaching job at Denver. I was born and raised in San Francisco and the 49ers have always been my team. I went through the interview process with Mike and he offered me the job. I went to San Francisco, had dinner with George (Seifert) and he offered me the opportunity there. He asked me if I would take the job. We were friends for years, we worked together, studied together and he kind of assumed that it would be a no-brainer. Well it wasn't a no-brainer and I said I can't answer that. I said let me think about it and talk to you in the morning. I don't know why I couldn't make the choice, I didn't understand why.
I realized what was so important to me, it wasn't which job. It was so important to coach the 49ers and help them to become more than they had them, it was the pressure. As soon as I recognized it, I called George two minutes later and took the job. I just had to recognize the problem that what was important to me.
This situation is similar. Give me all of the problems, give me all of the pressure and that's where I would like to succeed. It's just kind of my nature. A lot of people do it differently, I don't see it that way and my track record proves it.
For the benefit of the alumni, why are you taking this job at USC?
I think in my mind, it's obvious. I think I bring all of the things this place needs right now. I bring the background, I think I bring the style, the person, the kind of person that can communicate with a young person. I think all of those things are built in. The opportunity to represent this place that has a lot of pressure, that can be difficult for another person, I have already been through it. This is not going to be different. In that sense, I'm prepared.
Dealing with a tremendous media base as there is here in Los Angeles, I have been in New York and Boston. I am ready and prepared to do that. Now they need to see the product. I hope that they will give us a chance and see what we turn out. I want to make them proud of what we are doing. I don't need anyone to fire me up or give me pep talks, that's who I am.
Do you feel like you will be in a constant process of selling people that you are the right guy for the job?
After this couple of days, it won't be a concern, but I understand the question. I would say this, I went into a situation following one of the greatest coaches in football history and you couldn't be under any more scrutiny than I was in that setting. It was very difficult to maintain the focus. I think I made it through it and I understood it. Just like I respect this university and the fans and their expectations, they are no different than mine.
Since you will be in a living room of a high school recruit and selling yourself, what will you tell them?
I am not going to tell them. I am going to be who I am. I am going to talk to them just like I am to you now. The best way I can represent who I am is to be that person, so that's what I will do. My actions through how I direct the focus of the recruiting process with that particular individual and knowing that there is a selling process, the best way to sell myself is to be me.
Your daughter Jaime is a freshman on the volleyball team here. What does she think about you being the football coach here?
She has been very supportive. My kids have had an opportunity to move around a little bit. They understand the coaching business and this is an unusual situation. I am going to go work at the same place where she is going to school so we will have an opportunity to see each other a lot more than a normal coaching situation. You know in the NFL, you are pretty much sequestered. You are often gone by yourself.
The activity and the community of this university setting is something that is very comfortable to me. I'm really excited about all of the things that go on, the opportunity to support other sports and to watch them excel. This place has so many wonderful sports going on...great traditions which makes it fun to be a part of...I hope we will go to a couple of games together and have fun doing it.