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Trojans Wire’s tribute to Pete Carroll, one of the great coaches of the 21st century

Pete Carroll might not be done coaching, but he has coached his last game with the Seattle Seahawks. You will want to follow Seahawks Wire for more coverage, but the bottom line is that team owner Jody Allen wanted a fresh start. Carroll is not burned out or tired, but the Seahawks were falling behind the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams. Ownership wanted to make a change. We will see how Carroll, a very young and vigorous 72 years of age, plots out the remainder of his football career.

While we all wonder what he will do next (we’re not sure he will stay in an advisory role with the Seahawks — he might want to actually coach somewhere else), here’s an appreciation of the coaching legend with the Seahawks and USC.

For younger fans not old enough to remember the Pete Carroll USC dynasty, we’ll begin with the greatest article ever written about Carroll, from his USC days. It’s a must-read.

After sharing that article with you, we’ll pass along tributes and quotes from his former players, plus photos from his triumphs as a USC Trojan:

THE J.R. MOEHRINGER LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE ARTICLE FROM 2007

EXCERPT

LANE KIFFIN REACTS

STEVE SARKISIAN REACTS

RICHARD SHERMAN

LEAVING ALONGSIDE BILL BELICHICK AND NICK SABAN

PASSAGE OF TIME

STAGGERING

LOTS OF YEARS BEHIND THEM

PHILOSOPHY

RUSSELL WILSON

POIGNANT

AN EXTRAORDINARY 24 HOURS

COACHING EARL THOMAS

WISDOM

LONGTIME SEATTLE SPORTSWRITER

GOOD SUMMATION

IS THERE A FUTURE?

1980 ROSE BOWL

REMARKABLE

LINCOLN RILEY ON PETE CARROLL'S USC

REFLECTIONS

EVALUATING USC

PERSPECTIVE

FASCINATING FACT

MATCHUP THAT NEVER HAPPENED

CARROLL'S 2004 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

2004 ROSE BOWL

2002 BLOWOUT OF NOTRE DAME

2005 COMEBACK AGAINST ARIZONA STATE IN 100-DEGREE HEAT

PETE CARROLL AND NICK SABAN SPLIT THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

USC-NOTRE DAME 2005: THE CLASSIC GAME

FIGHTING IRISH WIRE BENDS THE KNEE TO PETE CARROLL

MATT LEINART

ULTIMATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Jan 4, 2005; Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2005; Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Carroll is the only coach in the BCS/College Football Playoff era to win the college football national championship and the Super Bowl. Barry Switzer won a national title and a Super Bowl before the BCS began in 1998. Jimmy Johnson did the same. That’s a fun fact, but there’s an even better fact about Carroll.

Here goes:

Pete Carroll is the only coach in the history of football to win the Rose Bowl, the college football national championship, and the Super Bowl. Dick Vermeil won the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl, but not the college football national title.

Nick Saban has won the Rose Bowl (not a game played in Pasadena, but remember the playoff win over Notre Dame in Arlington — that was the relocated version of the Rose Bowl). Saban has won several national titles. He did not win the Super Bowl.

Pete Carroll really and truly does stand alone in a few key ways as a football coach. He, unlike Saban, figured out the NFL. Never forget that.

LASTING LEGACY

Jan 04, 2005; Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports (©) Copyright 2005 by Matthew Emmons
Jan 04, 2005; Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports (©) Copyright 2005 by Matthew Emmons

In addition to being a big winner — the main reason great coaches establish their reputations — there’s one other central legacy Pete Carroll leaves behind. He was uniquely great and gifted at relating to the modern athlete. Keep in mind that Carroll is 72. He has been coaching since the 1970s. Into his late 60s and early 70s, he was still building very strong relationships with NFL athletes. Players widely and consistently respect and admire the healthy work environment he created with the Seahawks. He created a positive, winning culture in college at USC and was met with a lot of skepticism that he could build that same culture in the NFL, but he clearly did. Carroll possesses a unique human touch which sets him apart from a lot of other coaches who might have won a lot, but were authoritarian and strict.

Carroll’s greatest legacy is that he won while putting a smile on his players’ faces. That’s no small thing.

POSTSCRIPT

Unknown date, 1975; Long Photography-USA TODAY Sports
Unknown date, 1975; Long Photography-USA TODAY Sports

Dick Vermeil, who — as noted above — won the Rose Bowl and Super Bowl in a decorated career, is a notable coaching figure for a lot of reasons. One is that he suffered burnout. Vermeil was one of the first coaches to publicly talk about burnout and the stress of coaching.

In addition to creating positive environments for his players, Pete Carroll is anything but burned out. He hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for coaching. That’s an underrated achievement … and it also raises this final question: Is Carroll done coaching?

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire