The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

TAYLOR: Thank you, Pete Carroll

Former Seahawks coach won and had fun
Pete Carroll leaves the Seattle Seahawks with a 137-89-1 record.

No one had more fun than Pete Carroll.

You could count on Carroll to have gum in his mouth, Air Monarch’s on his feet and a smile on his face as he bounced all around the field, talking to everyone and sometimes even riding a scooter through the halls. All at the young age of 72.

Thirteen coaches won more games than Carroll and 13 coaches won more Super Bowls, but Carroll remained undefeated in the fun department and he brought his players, staff and fans along for the ride. 

“Pete Carroll was the reason I liked football,” Trevor Junt, WSU alum and former Daily Evergreen sports editor said. “He brought a whole generation of Seahawks fans closer to the Seahawks.”

The memories speak for themselves.

The magical Super Bowl XLVIII Championship season, the Legion of Boom, the Beast Quake.

Kam ‘Bam-Bam’ Chancellor’s incredible hits, Richard Sherman’s trash talk, backed up by excellent play, Marshawn Lynch’s enduring runs and endearing interviews (“I’m just here so I won’t get fined”). Russell Wilson saying “Go Hawks” after every press conference and magically completing an impossible pass every week which earned him the reputation as the NFL’s Houdini. A slew of “pedestrian receivers” headlined by Doug Baldwin Jr., and Jermaine Kearse in the Super Bowl seasons followed by a toe-tapping real estate agent in Tyler Lockett and one of the NFL’s best receivers in D.K. Metcalf.

Not to mention Earl Thomas III, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Michael Robinson, Luke Willson, Jon Ryan, Steven Hauschka, Nick Bellore, Quandre Diggs and countless other players who made their mark on Seattle and were allowed to be themselves. 

“The NFL is about the players. We’ve not recognized that to my satisfaction,” Carroll said in his farewell press conference Jan. 10. “We should always, in my opinion, understand that we should celebrate those guys because they are the NFL.”

Pete Carroll’s antics did not interfere with winning.

In Carroll’s time in Seattle, the Seahawks were 137-89-1, advanced to back-to-back Super Bowls, winning one, made the playoffs 10 times in 14 seasons and provided the championship-caliber backdrop to multiple future pro football Hall of Fame careers.

Former Seahawks tight end Luke Willson knew from the first day of his rookie camp in 2013 what playing for Carroll would be like.

“The next thing we know, we’re shooting basketballs, he’s got a couple of YouTube videos and we go out to practice and music is blaring the whole time and [Carroll is] dancing around,” Willson said in The Athletic.

Carroll hosted a basketball shoot-off bracket between members of the team, something he did nearly every year.

The fun didn’t stop when the season began, or even when the Seahawks arrived in New Jersey to play in the Super Bowl.

The Hawks got to use the New York Giants’ facility during the week of the Super Bowl. Unlike the Seahawks’ facility, it lacked a basketball hoop in the meeting room. Carroll asked his chief of staff, Ben Malcolmson, to acquire a basketball hoop for the meeting room.

Malcolmson set up the hoop in the dead of night and the team received backlash from the Giants who could not comprehend setting up a basketball hoop in an NFL meeting room, according to The Athletic.

“I was nervous. I’m a rookie. We’re eight days out from the f—ing Super Bowl. Pete comes in, wheels in a f—ing basketball goal and is like: “I don’t give a sh– that it’s the Super Bowl, we’re doing the same thing we’ve always done, boys. In fact, we’re going to have an All-Star tournament with the best shooters of the year, and we’re doing Round 1 today,” Willson said in The Athletic.

WSU alum Derek Joseph said he was not a football fan until his dad encouraged him to watch the Seahawks playoff game against the New Orleans Saints in 2011.

That made Joseph’s earliest memory as a Seahawks fan Marshawn Lynch’s iconic Beast Quake touchdown run. Fans in Seattle made enough noise to trigger a seismic event. Lynch broke over half a dozen tackles on his way to the endzone as the 7-9 Seahawks beat the defending Super Bowl Champions in the playoffs.

Three years later, Joseph was one of thousands of people on the streets of Seattle for the Seahawks’ Super Bowl Championship parade.

Joseph said he remembers Carroll standing up in an open jeep in 20-degree weather pointing and waving in his direction like a rockstar.

“[Pete Carroll is] the most fun, old man of all time,” Junt said.

Carroll is one of three coaches to win both a Super Bowl and a college football National Championship.

Carroll arrived in Seattle after a decade of dominance at USC. He won two National Championships, mentored a Heisman winner in Reggie Bush and put 21st-century West Coast college football on the map.

Carroll did not change his tune when he returned to the NFL. He let players be themselves.

“When you let players be themselves, they’re going to be their best so he brought out the best in guys in teenagers and in adults so that that’s nothing short of impressive,” Joseph said.

The idea that Carroll made the Seattle Seahawks a college-like atmosphere was most apparent when the team welcomed their former QB Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos to open the 2022 season. It had not even been six months since the Hawks traded Wilson, but former Seahawks turned out to see the best QB in franchise history face the best coach in franchise history.

Despite reports that Wilson had asked the Seahawks to fire Carroll, Pete did not disparage Russ in any public remarks.

“I’ve always been so proud to be a Seahawks fan because of the absolute class and dignity that he ran this team with,” Joseph said.

Several hours after the news that Carroll would no longer be the Seahawks coach dropped, a slew of players gathered with Pete at the Legion Sports Bar in Bellevue (owned by former Seahawks Chancellor and Sherman) to celebrate their former coach.

Wilson flew into town for the event to surprise a great number of people in the room.

“Seeing all those guys in one photo again, really brought back some childhood memories. It was very emotional for me to see, especially since they’re such a big part of my childhood and why I even got into sports in the first place,” said Gunner Miller, WSU Broadcast News major.

The dinner was perhaps even more healing for the players themselves. Sherman’s criticism of Russell Wilson is well-documented, but for one night, they spoke as brothers, united by Carroll.

“They both look at me said, ‘Look what had to happen to get us two talking to one another and having fun,’” Carroll said on Seattle Sports Radio.“It was a great moment, everybody was hugging, and everybody was loving, feeling it and it was a really pretty scene of Seahawk lore and heritage and background.”

Pete Carroll made Seahawks football fun. He cared about his players and let them be themselves. Winning is fun, but Carroll proved that it is even more fun when you stay true to yourself. While competition between members of the team was a natural part of the NFL, the true competition was himself.

Thank you Pete Carroll. As Trevor Junt put it, you are “the most fun, old man of all time.”

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About the Contributors
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
KYRIE ROLLINS, Evergreen illustrator
Kyrie Rollins is a graphic illustrator for the Daily Evergreen. They are in their third year at Washington State University double majoring in Digital Technology & Culture and Fine Arts. They’re born and raised in Pullman and are ready to represent this town!