As we move forward I will probably do more in looking back on Pete Carroll's tenure at USC, but for now I just have some general thoughts as it all sinks in...
So, we turn the page on the Pete Carroll era at USC...
If you didn't see the presser you can watch it again here.
There will be many who write and dissect PC's tenure at Heritage Hall. Some will be positive, some will be negative. I just hope many will be fair. No coach does everything right and all the good ones have their share of controversy and when they are in charge at a nationally prominent program every little issue is magnified into a national conspiracy by those who would wish said program ill will.
Pete Carroll changed the atmosphere around the program. He embraced its traditions and made a few of his own along the way. His easy going style made it easy to get comfortable with the program again. He changed the culture as he embraced the fans and opened up practices.
He made it fun to enjoy USC football again!
I am not going to try and write a historical piece on Pete Carroll. Others are already doing that so I will leave it to the professionals.
For a change Dennis Dodd actually writes something decent...
Pete injected a personality we thought he never had into a rudderless program. Who knew that an out-of-work average former NFL coach from the University of Pacific had these kind of chops?
From the get go, he was recruiting. Not just players either. In 2005, Pat Ruel was happy with his NFL job with the New York Giants. Carroll convinced the veteran offensive line coach to come out and talk about a job. It took one lunch with Carroll in Manhattan Beach on a cloudless sunny day with the waves crashing in the background for Ruel to change jobs.
Carroll's coaching tree continues to grow. Steve Sarkisian is at Washington and has already been mentioned as a possible replacement. Kiffin took some of Carroll's exuberance with him to Tennessee. Carroll allowed them to run USC's offense while still in their early 30's. Both run their practices the same as Pete did at USC.
Players loved him. Recruits flocked to him. In one three-year period, 40 true freshmen saw the field for the Trojans. The downside was that a lot of those players developed quickly and went to the NFL after three years. The upside was that the cycle started all over again. Carroll sold that possibility to the next round of recruits.
Pete embraced the history, tradition, the hype, the hangers on. Even the media.
Open locker rooms, open practices, Win Forever. Game day at the Coliseum, sellouts, Tommy Trojan, the Song Girls. I walked off the field with Matt Leinart a night after he beat Notre Dame at home. The look in his eyes told me the kid knew his whole life was about to change.
Matt, you had no idea.
God, you not only wanted to cover it, you wanted to be part of it.
Everyone wanted to be a part of it!
SC wasn't this much fun since McKay left.
And just like that it is over...
It went by pretty fast!
I refuse to think and say "what if" as many have and will do about a number of moves that Pete Carroll made (or didn't make).
In for a dime in for a dollar...
You take the good with the bad...
I really couldn't be happier for Pete Carroll as he makes the move to Seattle.
SC has a bit of a rough road ahead but SC will be fine.
We will have to take our licks in the coming months but as we have seen with other programs who have had issues with the NCAA it isn't the end of the world. Oklahoma and Alabama come to mind. Whatever the punishment is will be real, it will kind of be like getting the flu, we'll feel crummy and slog through it but sooner or later it will pass. With the right staff and with the right attitude anything is possible.
Everything happens for a reason.
I refuse to be down or melancholy. It couldn't last forever, nor should it have.
I do not know what the future holds but I am confident that those pulling the strings will make the right moves to continue to keep this program nationally prominent.
It won't be easy as we are about to go through change. A new coach and staff mean new rules and a different way of doing things. That will good and bad. The expectations will be high but we need to be supportive and understand that it just won't continue like the way it was before.
There will be fits and starts. There will be stumbling blocks along the way but I have no doubt that SC will still be in the national discussion from a football perspective and not from a punishment perspective.
USC is bigger than just one coach no matter what he accomplished at during his time at USC.
So its a new beginning with a lot of unanswered questions...
And I am excited to see what the future holds!