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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Seattle Seahawks Want Pete Carroll

It's official: USC confirms Pete Carroll is leaving.

The Seattle Seahawks have gotten their man, and USC has lost theirs.  USC and the Seahawks confirmed today both parties have reached an agreement.  “We are excited to add Pete as our coach. He brings a great passion for winning and a positive attitude that is contagious,” said CEO Tod Leiweke in a press release. “We now turn our full attention to the hiring process for a general manager. Our intended structure is for Pete and the new GM to work in a collaborative capacity on football matters.”

Head coach Pete Carroll said he's eager to move to the NFL, a completely different atmosphere.  “The university graciously approached me to stay but this choice is about pursuing the great challenges of competing in the NFL and I found this opportunity too compelling to pass up,” he said.  The Times is reporting the deal is five years for $33 million.  He is expected to sign today and be formally introduced tomorrow as the Seahawk's new head coach.  Players and assistant coaches were notified of the impending move Sunday by text message, according to the Times.

“The nine years at USC have been the best years of my coaching life,” said Carroll in a press release. “I will forever be indebted for the opportunity to represent this great university and would like to extend my thanks to President Sample and Mike Garrett for giving me the chance. For all the unforgettable memories, I want to thank the players, coaches and support staff who made it all possible. My family and I have been blessed, and we will always appreciate and respect our association with USC, our fans and the Trojan Family. I will continue to be committed to the community through our foundation, A Better LA."  

The Daily Breeze reported Pete Carroll handed in his resignation as USC's head football coach Sunday.  ESPN says a source close to USC linebackers coach Ken Norton confirmed Carroll will be taking Norton and assistant offensive coach Jeremy Bates with him up to Seattle.  

Carroll's success at USC has caught the attention of other NFL franchises in recent years. In 2007, the Miami Dolphins spoke to Carroll while he was on an off-season vacation in Costa Rica. The San Diego Chargers considered Carroll that same year. In 2008, the Atlanta Falcons targeted Carroll. On every occasion, Carroll turned down the offers until now.

As to who will replace Carroll, several names, including many Pac-10 coaches, have been mentioned.  Head coach Mike Riley has agreed to a three-year contract extension with Oregon State.  The deal puts him with the Beavers until 2019.  Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the Stanford Cardinal, just signed a three-year extention, putting him with Stanford until 2014.  Washington Huskies' head coach Sarkisian told the LA Times he has already has his dream job.  Others in the mix are former USC football players Jeff Fisher and Jack Del Rio.  Both are currently head coaches in the NFL.  Fisher is with the Tennessee Titans and Del Rio is with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  

Carroll came to USC in December of 2000. Although the hiring was questioned at the time, it didn't take long for Carroll to build the Trojans into a perennial winner. Following a 6-6 record during the 2001 season, the Trojans went on a tear. Starting in 2002, USC played in seven straight BCS games and won two national championships under Carroll. That streak ended this past season with four losses and an Emerald Bowl victory over Boston College in December. Carroll's 83.5% winning percentage was the second highest of any active coach who has been with their program for at least 5 seasons.

Coaching the Seahawks won't be Carroll's first time as head coach of an NFL team. In four combined seasons as the head coach for the New York Jets and New England Patriots, Carroll went 33-31 overall before being fired in 1999.

Meanwhile, USC running back Joe McKnight and wide receiver Damian Williams announced Friday they will make themselves available for the next NFL draft. Backup quarterback Aaron Corp is transferring from USC to the University of Richmond.  Corp reportedly will be starting classes today.  

ATVN's Jacqueline Tsai and Steven Kim contributed to this report.

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