Pete Carroll has resigned as USC head coach, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. An agreement to make him the Seahawks next head coach is close at hand, but that deal was not announced Sunday night. Carroll is apparently returning to the NFL after nine years at USC where he compiled a record of 97-19, won two national titles and had seven successive seasons with 11 or more victories. He returns to the NFL one decade after he was fired from New England in 1999, and the Seahawks indicated over the weekend that he would not be hired with final say over personnel, something previously characterized as a prerequisite for his return to the league. As an NFL coach, Carroll was 33-31 overall with two playoff appearances and one playoff victory. He would become the seventh head coach in Seahawks history, replacing Jim Mora who was fired after just one season. Seattle still must hire a general manager, and according to ESPN, four candidates have been lined up for interviews this week: Floyd Reese, previous GM of the Oilers and Titans who currently serves as senior football adviser; John Schneider, Green Bay's director of football operations, and a well-regarded personnel evaluator; Marc Ross of the New York Giants' college scouting department; and Omar Khan, the Pittsburgh Steelers' business and football administration coordinator who handles contract negotiations.
Both Ross and Khan are young up-and-coming executives in their 30s while Reese is a veteran. Schneider worked in Seattle for one year in 2000 where he was vice president of player personnel under Mike Holmgren. The exact title Carroll may end up holding in Seattle is not known, however, and it's possible that Seattle is creating a new organizational structure in which Carroll would report directly to the CEO, Tod Leiweke, and not the general manager. Although Carroll will not have a final say over personnel in terms of the draft, free-agent signings and trades, he might have final say on who makes the 53-man roster. USC has a potential vacancy, and the Los Angeles Daily News reported the Trojans contacted University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian to gauge his potential interest, and he said no thanks. Sarkisian, however, said Sunday in an e-mail he had not been contacted. On Friday after news of Carroll's potential departure to the Seahawks was reported, Sarkisian said to The Seattle Times he wasn't interested in going elsewhere. "People don't understand it, but this is my dream job," he said.