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AFM Magazine

Open Door Policy

A Look Inside a Coach\'s Office: Pete Carroll
by: Rex Lardner
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AFM continues the new section of the magazine with the second installment of Open Door Policy: an inside look at the office of a head football coach. Itís not just the inner-workings of a day in the life of a coach, but what goes on behind the scenes; that is, the good, the bad, and the unusual. Itís an intimate look inside a coachís den...

This monthís subject is USCís Pete Carroll, last yearís AFCA Division I-A National Coach of the Year, having guided the Trojans to a three year record of 29-9 and a co-National Championship in 2003. Carroll also serves as defensive coordinator of the team that led the nation in rushing defense. His resume includes 29 years of coaching experience including 16 in the NFL. He gave us these insights as he reflected from his office...

AFM: What was it like the first time you stepped into your office-knowing you are in charge of one of the great traditions of college football?
PC: I was aware of the aura and tradition but didnít look at the history of USC but rather the present knowing Iíd have to make some difficult decisions down the line.

AFM: Have there been any interesting or unusual anecdotes in the brief time youíve been at your desk?
PC: On the eve of the first signing day I was here (February, 2001), I stayed in the office all night and couldnít sleep Ė we were waiting on decisions by a number of student-athletes on the East Coast and I didnít want to miss any calls, e-mails, or faxes, especially with the three hour time difference. I donít think I slept a minute.

AFM: Have you had any interesting or unusual meetings over the years in the office?
PC: We were in the process one day of coordinating the transfer of running back Justin Fargas from Michigan to SC... I didnít realize it but while I was meeting with Justin, there was a knock on the door and in came his parents Ė his mother and Antonio Fargas, ĎHuggy Bearí from Starsky and Hutch, and he greeted me with a hug... I didnít even make the connection until afterwards.

AFM: Do you have any interesting memorabilia, photos, or trophies in the office that have a special significance?
PC: Right across from my desk is an aerial view of the LA Coliseum...the shot also looks at downtown Los Angeles and gives me a sense of the enormity of our program Ė from the players and coaches to the fans and student body Ė itís like the entire panaroma of our program. It stands for what we play for...

AFM: What coaches have influenced you over the years?
PC: My high school coach Bob Troppman was a tremendous influence on me...Vikings Coach Bud Grant took great care of me when I was a DB coach there. Both Bill Walsh and George Seifert were very instrumental especially when I was DC with the 49erís (1995-1996).

AFM: If you could invite three coaches into your office Ė living or having past away Ė for a coaching discussion or clinic, who would they be?
PC: John Wooden, Bud Grant and Monte Kiffin... I learned a lot from all of them. Wooden has been very helpful and Iíve read just about everything heís written Ė his books have had a tremendous influence on my philosophy of both coaching and winning.

AFM: Through the history of college football, if you could be a GA to learn from a specific coach, who would it be?
PC: Joe Gibbs Ė I think he would be a great choice to learn from, especially the fundamentals of the game...

AFM: What thoughts or advice would you give to the person who eventually will replace you?
I feel itís import to re-connect with all of the schoolís former players... ask them to be a part of the program. They were instrumental in forming the SC tradition and, I feel itís important for them to be an integral part of your day-to-day operation.


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