Head coach Pete Carroll, who guided the USC football program to the winningest era in its history during his nine-year tenure, has resigned to become the head coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
"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." The 58-year-old Carroll posted a 97-19 (83.6%) record in his nine seasons (2001-2009) at USC. He won a pair of national championships (2003-04), with the 2004 Trojans going a perfect 13-0. He was 62-14 in Pacific-10 games for a league record 81.6% winning mark.
From 2002 to 2008, his teams won an unprecedented seven consecutive Pac-10 titles, appeared in an NCAA-record seven consecutive BCS bowls (including a pair of BCS Championship Games), recorded at least 11 victories in each of those seven seasons (an NCAA record) and finished ranked in the AP Top 4 in each of those seven seasons.
He posted 35 victories over AP Top 25 teams (35-9 overall, 79.5%). He was 7-2 in bowl games, including 6-1 in BCS games, and USC became the first school to win three consecutive Rose Bowls. He went 16-2 against traditional rivals Notre Dame and UCLA.
His teams established several Pac-10 record winning streaks, including 35 home games, 34 overall games, 27 Pac-10 games and 24 Pac-10 home games. They also set school records for winning 18 consecutive road games and 13 straight Pac-10 road games.
USC was AP's No. 1 team in a national-record 33 straight polls and was ranked in the AP Top 10 for a school-record 63 consecutive games. His teams were in the AP Top 25 for 102 consecutive games, also a school record.
His Trojans set a NCAA record by scoring at least 20 points in 63 consecutive games.
Under Carroll, USC was the first school to have three Heisman Trophy winners in a four-year span. He also coached winners of the Walter Camp, Chuck Bednarik, Johnny Unitas, Doak Walker and John Mackey Awards. In 2005, USC became the first school to have a 3,000-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard runners and a 1,000-yard receiver in a season.
Carroll produced 35 All-American first teamers and 53 NFL draft picks (including 14 first rounders, with a No. 1 selection in Carson Palmer and a No. 2 in Reggie Bush).
In 2009, he was named collegiate Coach of the Decade by Lindy's magazine. He twice was named the National Coach of the Year and three times was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
During his time at Troy, USC set Pac-10 records for home average and home total attendance, as well as school standards for overall and overall average attendance and home and season sellouts.
While at USC, Carroll received a number of community awards after he helped develop A Better LA, a non-profit group consisting of a consortium of local agencies and organizations working to reduce gang violence by empowering change in individuals and communities.