Sunday, May 26

Pete Carroll ‘competed hard’ to remain Seahawks’ coach but agrees to step down; GM to lead search

Pete Carroll will not return as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks next season but will remain with the franchise as an adviser, the team announced Wednesday.

Carroll, who’d just completed his 14th season with the Seahawks, made it clear at a news conference Wednesday that he would have preferred to return next season as the team’s head coach. “I competed pretty hard to be the coach, just so you know.”

“Following season-ending meetings with ownership … it’s clear, and for a variety of reasons, we mutually agreed to take a new course,” he said.

During the news conference that saw the 72-year-old become emotional when thanking his staff and family members, he said he won’t be involved in the franchise’s search for his replacement but that general manager John Schneider will be involved and spoke highly of his longtime coworker. Additionally, responsibilities for his new role with the organization had not yet been defined.

“It’s about this organization being successful and being on course for the long haul of it, as well. And I realize that,” he said. “I mean, I’m about as old as you can get in this business, and there’s come a time they got to make some decisions. So moving toward the future, if there’s some way I can add something to them down the road, we’ll see what happens.”

Carrol continued, “But this is a good move for them. And Johnny’s (GM John Schneider) going to take this thing, take the bull by the horns and roll.”

Carroll guided the franchise to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014, including a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks are 137-89-1 and have only finished below .500 three times under Carroll.

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“Pete is the winningest coach in Seahawks history, brought the city its first Super Bowl title, and created a tremendous impact over the past 14 years on the field and in the community. His expertise in leadership and building a championship culture will continue as an integral part of our organization moving forward. Pete will always be a beloved member of the Seahawks family,” Seahawks chair Jody Allen said in a statement. Allen was not present at Carroll’s news conference.

Following Seattle’s 21-20 win against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Carroll told reporters he expected to return to the Seahawks. The 72-year-old coach told Seattle Sports on Monday: “I plan to be coaching this team. I love these guys, and that’s what I would like to be doing and see how far we can go. I’m not worn out. I’m not tired. I’m not any of that stuff.”He said on Wednesday those statements were “true to the bone.”

Seattle was eliminated from playoff contention in Week 18 when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears. That marked just the fourth time since Carroll was hired that the Seahawks failed to make the postseason.

The Seahawks’ defense under Carroll has been on a steady decline over the last decade. Since 2013, Seattle’s ranking in defensive EPA has fallen almost every season: first, third, seventh, seventh, eighth, 15th, 19th, 18th, 22nd, 25th and 29th this season.

Prior to taking the job as Seahawks head coach in 2010, Carroll spent nine seasons as the head coach at USC. He posted a 97-19 record with the Trojans and won two national championships.

Before USC, he spent three seasons as the head coach of the New England Patriots. And a season as the head coach of the New York Jets.

Is this move surprising?

Carroll no longer having the title of coach is surprising, though the move is not hard to justify. Only six teams have a higher winning percentage than the Seahawks since he took over the team in 2010. He won a Super Bowl in that span and came within one yard of winning another. But Seattle has missed the playoffs in three of the last seven seasons and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2019.

In that time, Seattle has had high draft picks and made a bunch of win-now trades — Jadeveon Clowney in 2019, Jamal Adams in 2020 and Leonard Williams in 2023 — but the team hasn’t been able to get over the hump. This year’s team had talent but fell well short of its goal, which was championship contention. — Michael-Shawn Dugar, Seahawks staff writer

What’s Carroll’s legacy

Carroll is the best Seahawks coach in franchise history and is responsible for the team’s only Super Bowl victory, and two of their three appearances. He was the architect behind one of the greatest defenses of the modern era and established a culture players loved to be in. Many of Carroll’s former players still live in the area, communicate with him regularly and follow the team the way college graduates keep track of their alma mater.

Carroll will almost certainly land a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The coach to succeed Carroll will have massive shoes to fill. — Dugar

Required reading

(Photo: Matt Kartozian / USA Today)