Report: UCLA targeting Pete Carroll as Head Coach?

There’s an interesting story from Pro Football Network today, courtesy of friend of the blog Tony Pauline.

“From what I’m hearing, UCLA could potentially try and court Pete Carroll, to bring Pete Carroll in as the head coach. We’ll see what happens with Pete Carroll’s job after this final week and we’ll see if [UCLA] brings back Chip Kelly or if it lets him go.”

Here’s the interesting thing. Per Cam Mellor, also of PFN, Chip Kelly’s $9m buyout expires on 15th January. The Bruins could move on without it costing them a penny.

Their rivals USC have just appointed Lincoln Riley — who is already setting about a plan to dominate recruiting in California.

UCLA trying to respond by making a splash hire is understandable given the circumstances.

It was intriguing a few weeks ago when Carroll gave an interview to Sam Farmer at the LA Times, talking about his success at USC. It came shortly after the Trojans had fired Clay Helton. The timing was curious. The Seahawks were struggling and here was Carroll speaking to the main LA football journalist about the good old days at the Coliseum.

It wasn’t too difficult to wonder whether he was lining up a return. USC, instead, made the hire to end all hires by landing Riley.

Is it beyond the realms of possibility that Carroll goes back to LA — only to UCLA instead?

It’d be weird for UCLA to target this if they didn’t think it was possible. Do they know something?

I’ve long thought Carroll wouldn’t be interested in a long rebuild minus Russell Wilson. And yet that appears to be the only future for him in Seattle because Wilson appears readier than ever to move on unless significant changes are made at the top of the franchise.

Another off-season of drama feels undesirable to say the least.

A gig like UCLA might be convenient for all concerned. It allows Carroll to depart with his reputation intact. He can go back to an area where he’s had success and continue coaching. The Seahawks can plot a new path forward — either with a coach prepared to undergo a rebuild, or one that Wilson approves of.

Tony Pauline is very well sourced and is trusted. So this is worth keeping an eye on.

UPDATE — I’ve spoken to Tony and he clarified that if Pete Carroll leaves Seattle — and that’s seen as a 50/50 proposition — people in football are speculating UCLA would court him for the Bruins job. It’s not quite as cut and dried as the article perhaps suggests.

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    “Bye, Felicia” … kick gravel & travel

  2. ShowMeYourHawk

    With KNJ returning to UCLA as his DC and Nate Carroll as his TOTALLY EARNED OC? Poetic….

    • Peter

      In this universe I’d like KNJ to take his LB coach Aaron Curry with him as well.

  3. Scot04

    That would be an interesting turn of events if it happens.
    It definitely makes more sense than PC going through a rebuild here in Seattle.
    Rob wanted your thoughts on a possible Free-agent LG.
    I’m hoping that Connor Williams is a cap casualty from Dallas.
    24 year old LG who could fit in nicely. Then move Lewis back to RG.
    Go big $ at LT.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve never been impressed by him TBH. Thought he played soft at Texas

      • JJ

        Stranger would be pissed with this analysis.

        • Rob Staton

          There’s a name from the past 😂

          Is he still going, old Stanger things?

          • JJ

            I stopped following him around the time of the Connor Williams draft and he was all in with him from what I remember.

  4. cha

    Rob you need to get Pauline on the podcast again.

    Bribe him if you have to. I’ll buy him a bottle of bourbon, scotch, whatever he likes.

    I’m not kidding.

    • Peter

      If we are just going to be out here asking for nice things…how about one with Nagy as well. Pre or post senior bowl.

  5. BobbyK

    That’s really interesting. Strange, but interesting.

  6. Neville

    I don’t want to come across as ageist, but has there ever been a 70+ year old coaching hire? Seems really short sighted by UCLA. Seems also messed up for PC’s legacy by going to USC’s arch-rival.

    • Ukalex6674

      Not as messed up his legacy will be if he stays around for another 4 years in Seattle

      • Neville

        Totally agree with you. Feels like he’s staying around, doesn’t it?

  7. Murphy

    As a UCLA alumni and fan this seems like a dream scenario for both the Seahawks and bruins. Fingers crossed!!!!

  8. 12th chuck

    wow, the irony in a roundabout way to possibly replace Jim Mora again, yes please

    • TomLPDX

      Ha Ha! Forgot about that! The irony indeed!

  9. Robbie

    Ooohhhh that’s interesting!!

  10. TomLPDX

    Why would Pete want to go to UCLA and be a college coach again though? Seems the recruiting part of the job is all-consuming. I know it puts him back in LA but the job seems more time consuming and laborious.

    • Peter

      Moreso than a rebuild without Wilson? Heck even with Wilson?

    • Group Captain Mandrake

      From everything I’ve heard, there aren’t many jobs that’s more time consuming than NFL coach. And a lot of recruiting is handled by position assistants. Head coaches are more like the closer. It does seem weird, but I think it would be the easiest way to move on for all parties involved.

      • TomLPDX

        Good points by you and Peter.

    • cha

      I think Pete would have a blast with that aspect.

      He clearly enjoyed the DK Metcalf shirtless interview.

      Plus imagine walking into a recruit’s living room and reaching your hand to shake his father’s hand and his reaction to see you’re wearing a SB ring and a Natl Championship ring.

    • Blitzy the Clown

      Pete Carroll has a winning formula that he implemented to perfection at USC and in his 3rd-5th seasons with Seattle. That formula requires athletes with specific physical and mental attributes at key positions to work. Thank goodness a college HC isn’t limited to a handful of draft picks and FA signings every season. Pete had continued success, no domination, at USC for nearly a decade because he had an essentially endless supply of fresh prospects every year. And he is a fantastic recruiter.

      He’s never had a problem finding coordinators and assistants who can effectively implement his coaching philosophy.

      • Peter

        Blitzy you nailed it. I think how pete wants to play works at college so much more than the fickle nature of the pros. Not scheme wise because his scheme does work in the pros.

        Just that churn. Getting young guys up for the game. Deep rosters. I think pete coukd be great at UCLA. Heck it’d be pretty interesting if USC returns but has to deal with PC across town.

        • TomLPDX

          All 3 of you nailed it!

          See!, this is why I love about SDB. Honest question (hell, I’m 63 and the thought of going back to work is not at all appealing) and great responses. Pete is lucky he gets to do what he loves.

      • Group Captain Mandrake

        This right here. Former players have said that the “kumbaya” stuff wore thin after a bit. In college, by the time that gets old they are gone.

    • Rob Staton

      I think Pete enjoys the competition of recruiting

  11. AlaskaHawk

    Will Pete be taking Adrian Peterson with him to be the running back coach?

    • Sea Mode

      He can definitely stay in my book if Penny keeps running like he did the past two weeks (albeit with the asterisk of weak opponents)

  12. Blitzy the Clown

    And just when Chip Kelly turns in a decent season at UCLA built on his recruiting. But I get it, especially since UCLA can move on from him at no cost. The splash of hiring Pete Carroll, especially in LA and among Bruin alumni and boosters, would be significant. I’m sure some would hate it, but hey that just spices up the media margarita.

    Should we assume UCLA has talked to Carroll on some level, if Pauline is reporting it? And if yes, does that add any insight into Wilson’s somewhat definitive sounding comment yesterday that he plans on winning Super Bowls and winning them in Seattle?

    • Rob Staton

      I think we can assume that this story is true, because Tony is legit.

      And his story is — they might try to replace Chip Kelly with Carroll. So whether it happens or not, we should assume UCLA have at least talked about it.

      The question now is whether they can make it happen — or whether Carroll is seeing the end in Seattle regardless.

      • TomLPDX

        At least we won’t have to worry about Chip coming back to Oregon if he is let go. Maybe he can coach a USFL team!

    • Simo

      How amazing would this be for everyone involved! I can see Pete motivated by the prospect of turning UCLA into a college power and competing with USC and Riley for LA dominance!

      It may be short sighted by UCLA, but it would give them instant credibility. In a very short time, I can imagine Pete maneuvering to make his son the next head coach!

      Let’s hope it happens, and please take Ken Norton and Tater with you Pete!

  13. cha

    Florio and Peter King talk RW’s future.

    Florio makes a point that seems lost by many – Going 12-4 and getting bounced hurts more than going 6-11 in a lost season with an injury to your best player.

    • Sea Mode

      I guess it only hurts more because one has time over the last few meaningless games of the season to come to terms with the fact that they don’t really count for anything. Whereas in the playoffs, although we know better, there’s always that faint glimmer of hope. No hope, no hurt…

      • Peter

        Yeah getting bounced sucks. This is just boring and a bit surreal with all the spinning plates waiting to see if anything happens starting next week.

  14. SeaTown

    From Tony’s lips to God’s ears!

  15. TomLPDX

    Looks like Bobby is out for Sunday’s game. Hope we haven’t seen the last of Bobby as a seahawk and he restructures his deal.

    • cha

      Remember when Pete Carroll said 2 or 3 years ago that Bobby and KJ were playing too high a percentage of snaps and they need to get some depth so they don’t wear out ?

      Bobby played every snap on defense this year until he got hurt. 100% of snaps.

      • 12th chuck

        he also said that pass rush would never become an issue again after Chris Clemons got hurt in Washington

      • Gary

        He also said he was trying to get Alton Robinson into the game!

    • Rob Staton

      I’m ready to move on

  16. Gros MaToast

    Mr. Defense, Pete Carroll, across town from Mr. Offense, Lincoln Riley, would be interesting. It could even be successful if Pete laid out a vision for the program and then did his best impression of Nick Saban. (A model that would also work in Seattle, btw.)

    But he’s making $12m/yr as the head coach of an NFL team and has total control over the franchise. Is he going to walk away from that to go recruit kids who were just heading off to kindergarten the last time he was relevant in college football?

    The only way I could see that happening is if he’s been told that a change is in the works and the move allows him to leave without being publicly, officially fired.

    Also, is JS really a “Top 3” GM, as Peter King states? How would we know?

    • Rob Staton

      I think it comes down to what is said in the article and my piece earlier this week.

      IMO Pete only sees a future in Seattle with Wilson, not a rebuild.

      If Wilson is saying ‘no dice’ on that, why would he stay?

      And that USC article a few weeks ago, to me, is an indicator he was flirting with a return to USC. Going to UCLA might be a consolation prize.

      • Gross MaToast

        Would Pete see a rebuild if Wilson leaves?

        I still have the sense that both Pete and JS have less regard for RW, particularly with the style of football they want to play, than many others, particularly most on this board. They seem to think he’s not difficult to replace, given that JS was prepared to trade him to the Bears last season and to the Browns in 2018, and the volume of contention about how the offense should operate between 2018-now. It seems that they may be as done with him as he is with them.

        Obviously this story about UCLA didn’t just appear out of nowhere, so there’s got to be a little smoke to it. This could have been in the works for weeks now. I still think about the “completely normal” meetings that Pete and JS had with Jody Allen in October. Who knows what was said at that time, but UCLA could provide a nice landing spot for a coach who was about to be released.

        This is just a long-winded way of saying that I don’t think Pete goes willingly.

        • Rob Staton

          Would Pete see a rebuild if Wilson leaves?

          They’d have no choice but to see it that way

          I still have the sense that both Pete and JS have less regard for RW, particularly with the style of football they want to play, than many others, particularly most on this board.

          I strongly disagree with this.

          I think Pete sees his tenure in Seattle tied to Wilson. He pretty much said that earlier in the season. A future without Wilson, IMO, is of no interest to Pete.

          They seem to think he’s not difficult to replace, given that JS was prepared to trade him to the Bears last season and to the Browns in 2018, and the volume of contention about how the offense should operate between 2018-now. It seems that they may be as done with him as he is with them.

          They’ll be well aware of how difficult it’ll be. The difference is JS embraces it and PC doesn’t, which is why he said ‘no’ to a trade a year ago.

          • Gross MaToast

            That’s a great point that I had not considered – Pete said ‘no.’

            The doom and gloom of my certainty of Pete’s return momentarily lifts.

  17. Rob Staton

    FYI — Carroll wasn’t asked about this report at his press conference today

    • MychestisBeastmode


    • Peter


      Just checking to see if the team is still battling? Do they need to clean up some things? Are the young guys making progress, looking good at practice?

      • cha

        It was all injury updates, does Pete think Bobby Wagner comes back next year (yes he loves him) and what does Pete think of the OL this year (apparently they did awesome, but the numbers don’t show it).

        Oh and is Jacob Eason good (he has the tools, he committed to Georgia as a sophomore in HS so he must be amazing).

        • Peter


          Bobby is amazing but come on.

          The oline? Really?

          Jacob eason questions?

          Is pete the “this is fine,” meme? Just enjoying a cup of coffee while the room is on fire.

  18. White-Salmon-Hawk

    Demarvion Overshown, ILB, Texas. Height: 6-2. Weight: 215.

    I saw a few games Texas games this year and he was flashing all over the field. I’d like the Hawks to take a look at this guy in rd.3 if we decide to move on from Wagner. Seems to have a real nose for the play/ball.

    • Peter

      215? Might be a bit light for me. I’ll check him out. Folks seem to think brooks should go back to the middle if bobby were to be moved on. So hard to predict since all draft focus unfortunately is in the frame of what Seattle has done for a decade.

      • Group Captain Mandrake

        I haven’t watched him, but he could work if they used him similarly to the way Arizona used Deone Bucannon. That’s not really Seattle’s style at the moment though.

      • White-Salmon-Hawk

        That 215 was taken from walterfootball. I saw another list him at 223. Moving Brooks to MLB is the only path I see the Hawks drafting this dude.

    • Gross MaToast

      Overshown is returning to Texas for his senior season and could be moved back to safety. Tom Herman forgot to recruit linebackers, o-linemen and running backs during his tenure, so Overshown moved to fill a need in 2020. The Texas defense was so poor this season that it’s hard to say anything positive about any one player.

    • McZ

      Troy Andersen, LB / RB, Montana
      Invited to the Senior Bowl, and I expect him to kick some asses there.

  19. Denver Hawker

    I’m embarrassed to admit I listened to AB’s Clubhouse convo today for awhile.

    I’m curious to see how this plays out. I have no interest in him being a Seahawk as leaves a trail of destruction in his wake, but more interested in how this situation could affect team vs player medical assessments and the transparency thereof. I don’t believe he wasn’t asked to play injured anymore than any other player ever has- and I’m sure the Bucs are within a legal ground to do what they did. Fans seem to be taking ABs side though which does impact a teams brand image.

  20. Andy J

    If I were Carroll I would be worried about ruining my good rep at USC. I could see Stanford, Cal, or Oregon as preferable.

    • Peter

      Stanford i could see. Cal seems like they woud never spend the money needed to compete. Maybe Oregon might make sense. It would be interesting for sure. They would spend basically anything and get into this weird NIL money for top recruits.

  21. Ashish

    Please UCLA take Pete

  22. Big Mike

    We should be so lucky

  23. Rob Staton


    I’ve spoken to Tony and he clarified that if Pete Carroll leaves Seattle — and that’s seen as a 50/50 proposition — people in football are speculating UCLA would court him for the Bruins job. It’s not quite as cut and dried as the article perhaps suggests.

    I’ve added this to the article.

    Listen to the podcast for the details. It’s in the first five minutes:

    • Group Captain Mandrake

      So they wouldn’t be poaching him, but might court him if he leaves (or gets fired). We can only hope.

    • jed

      That’s a much higher percent chance of Pete leaving than I thought.

  24. Gary

    Please oh please let this be true!

  25. cha

    Rich Eisen names the Seahawks his most disappointing team of 2021.

    • Gross MaToast

      Jets fan said what?

      • jeff

        Really. Jets maybe had hopes of showing progress. I will never understand it, but Seattle had Super Bowl hopes.

    • Robert Las Vegas

      I wonder what Rich thinks about the Cleveland Browns wasn’t this suppose to be there year?

  26. 805Hawk

    Does anyone know how PC’s contract is worded as far as if he were to be fired but got another job, would that lessen our obligation to him? All the talk about how much Jody would have to pay him might be mitigated if another team picked him up. I don’t see Pete sitting out a year with so few years of coaching left for him. Just a thought.

    • TomLPDX

      Hey Canadian Hawk, I’m going to push this to the next thread. Thanks for posting it.

  27. Brandon

    I think people take Russell too much at face value about his competitiveness. The only thing he has ever done constantly from every moment is maximize his earnings. I believe making all the noise now, with 2y left on his contract, is more about maximizing his lifetime earnings by manipulating the situation to get a contract sooner than later, and for more money. I don’t think it’s about maximizing his chances of winning SuperBowl(s) or he would have acted differently. From the beginning, it has strictly been about the cash. Leverage the fear of a hold out, him wanting to leave, to make sure that every single year he gets every single dollar he can get.
    I say this as a RW3 supporter and admirer. Just get real. If he really wanted to max his Superbowl(s) chances, he knew the writing was on the wall and would have already left. Pete’s not changing. John’s not changing. He just wants to lock in top tier compensation as often as possible with market resets.

    • Rob Staton

      100% not true

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