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USC football: Mike Garrett and Steven Sample praise Pete Carroll

January 11, 2010 | 12:37 pm

USC has released a statement on Pete Carroll's hiring by the Seattle Seahawks.

USC-logo “The nine years at USC have been the best years of my coaching life,” said Carroll. “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 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.”

Said USC President Dr. Steven B. Sample:  “I had hoped this day would not come;  this is a big loss to all of us.  But we are proud of Pete Carroll­ and proud that the Seattle Seahawks recognize his talents and his accomplishments ­and are offering him this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  He rewrote the book on college football and now he intends to do the same for professional football.  And my guess is that he will succeed wonderfully.

"Every Trojan everywhere owes Pete a big debt of gratitude for what he did for USC and USC football this past nine years.  Two national championships, three Heisman Trophy winners, and seven consecutive Pac-10 Championships earned him a lasting place in our history.  He launched more professional football careers than any coach in recent memory, including 35 All-American first teamers and 53 NFL draft picks.

“But even more important than this, he brought joy and grace back to the game.   He filled the Coliseum to the rafters.  He was an educator as much as a coach, and taught all of us by example how important it is to take personal responsibility for making the world a better place.   Pete’s work with the toughest gangs of Los Angeles through A Better LA is the stuff of legend.

“We will miss Pete, but he will always be a Trojan.  And he and his family will always have a warm and welcoming home at the University of Southern California.”

Added USC athletic director Mike Garrett:  “Pete Carroll propelled the USC football program to unparalleled heights and became a college football icon in doing so.  All of us connected with the university­ and indeed, the entire Trojan family­ thank him for everything that he did during his nine years at USC.  He was a valued colleague and good friend.  We’re obviously sorry to see him go, but we congratulate him on the new challenge that he has accepted with the Seattle Seahawks and wish him the very best.

“Pete had an incredible run at USC as our football coach.  He restored our program to national prominence and produced some of the most memorable moments in our history.  The expectations at USC are very high, and Pete and his teams achieved at the highest level imaginable.  He not only was a winner on the field, but he made a dramatic impact on our campus and in the community.

“We did everything we could to keep Pete at USC, but he was presented with a rare opportunity to really build a program in the NFL.  We know he will do a great job with the Seahawks.  We’ll be rooting for him.”

Garrett said that a search for Carroll’s successor would begin immediately.

"Pete built and left in place a truly outstanding organization,” said Garrett.  “While he leaves behind an impressive legacy, I am confident that we will find a new head coach who will continue the success to which we are accustomed at USC.”