Reports: Pete Carroll leaving USC for Seahawks -

Reports: Pete Carroll leaving USC for Seahawks

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By Don Ryan By Don Ryan

SEATTLE (AP) -- Pete Carroll reportedly agreed to leave Southern California after nine years to return to the NFL and coach the Seattle Seahawks.

ESPN cited multiple league sources Saturday, saying Carroll reached an agreement with a team that went 5-11 and fired coach Jim Mora on Friday after one season. The Los Angeles Times reported Carroll also will be team president.

The Seahawks also are speaking with Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Teams must interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs.

Carroll's agent, Gary Uberstine, did not return calls and e-mails from The Associated Press. The Seahawks are not commenting and chief executive Tod Leiweke did not return repeated messages Saturday.

Carroll was 6-10 in 1994 with the New York Jets and then 27-21 while twice reaching the playoffs from 1997-99 with the New England Patriots. He restored a dynasty at USC beginning in 2001.

A month before firing Mora, the Seahawks forced general manager and president Tim Ruskell to resign. That left them without a coach, general manager or president less than four years after they reached the Super Bowl.

Until now.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Leiweke flew to California before firing Mora to interview Carroll. The newspaper said that Seattle -- owned by Microsoft Corp. tycoon Paul Allen -- is believed to be offering Carroll a five-year contract worth $7 million a season to be president and coach. That would be a raise of more than $2 million annually on what Carroll is thought to be earning at USC.

The opportunity is unique for Carroll. The Seahawks still do not have a GM, so he conceivably will have authority over football matters as he does at USC, and far more than he would have had filling any of the NFL coaching openings to which he's been connected in recent winters.

And this was perhaps the best time to leave the Trojans since he arrived. USC's string of seven consecutive Pac-10 titles ended with four losses this season. The school has been under several years of NCAA scrutiny for alleged improprieties in both Carroll's team and athletic director Mike Garrett's beleaguered department.

When receiver Damian Williams announced he would enter the NFL, the news release of his departure Friday night didn't include a comment from Carroll, who often lavishes praise on his early entry candidates.

If Carroll is indeed leaving college, USC's recruits must now decide whether to honor their commitments to the Trojans or re-enter the recruiting derby late in process.

University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian left his friend Carroll and the Trojans 12 months ago for his first head coaching job. He was asked if he'd like to be a head man in the same city as his mentor.

"That would be kind of fun," Sarkisian said. "He's a great coach."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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