MORE THAN 2,500 E-MAILS, faxes and phone calls poured into USC after Pete Carroll was named the Trojans coach in December 2000. The vast majority expressed outrage at athletic director Mike Garrett's decision to hire a twice-fired NFL coach nearly two decades removed from the college game. "One of the strangest, off-the-wall choices for a coach in recent memory ..." was how the Orange County Register described it. Fans and alums wanted
The people closest to him say the explanation is simple: autonomy. What he didn't have with the Jets and Patriots made all the difference. Control is something every coach desires and not every coach can handle. Bill Belichick got it and has built the NFL's new dynasty in
Not even all this explains how Carroll has done what he has done. There is no complete explanation for what he has managed to do in this era of parity. Maybe he is one of those guys who just come along, like Troppmann said, somebody who is the perfect fit at a perfect time and goes on to accomplish what not even his most staunch supporters, few as they were, thought possible.