Pete Carroll Flees as Troy Burns
For years, he has been the face of southern California as much as any movie star or rocker or rapper, including those who've stood on his sideline during practices and games, celebrities awestruck by the Carroll-built mystique. But the public-relations messes and alleged improprieties kept piling up -- from whether Reggie Bush was given cash, gifts and a rent-free home for his parents to why Joe McKnight was driving a Land Rover owned by a local businessman who has a Web site registered as "www.4joemcknight.com.'' And when the continuing red flags were accompanied by four losses last season, including a 55-21 pounding by Stanford and a 47-20 thumping by Oregon, the Trojans' reign as a college superpower wobbled like no time in the Carroll era.
So rather than risk probation, a downfall in prestige and the new reality that Stanford's Jim Harbaugh and Oregon's Chip Kelly are the new coaching guns of the Pac-10 Conference, Carroll took a slick little escape hatch Saturday, one he insisted he'd never seek. He caught the first flight out to the NFL, where the Seattle Seahawks were more than happy to give him a five-year, $32.5 million deal to help clean up a team that has won nine games in two years and regressed quickly in Jim Mora Jr.'s lone season as coach. With Los Angeles still years away from gaining a pro franchise, Seattle seems the ideal West Coast fit for Carroll, who can be an instant hero with merely a degree of success while proving he can make it in the pros after being fired as a head coach by New England and the New York Jets.