The Measure Of Success: Pete Carroll

Doug UrschelCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Head caoch Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans celebrates after defeationg the Oregon State Beavers during the college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 3, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated Oregon State 24-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If you were to look in the dictionary for the word success, you might very well find a picture of Pete Carroll next to it.

Some people are successful at what they do.  Some, like teachers, may cause others to gain the ability to be successful. 

Pete Carroll can be measured by both of the above as being a very successful man, yet he does more.  Pete Carroll saves lives.

The CBS show, 60 Minutes, will re-air a segment they did on Pete Carroll this past year.  This segment has been nominated for an Emmy in the awards show which follows.

Pete Carroll decided that the street gang violence in Los Angeles was too much for him to ignore.  He did something that no other coach at any level, anywhere has ever done. 

He decided to take it upon himself to create an organization which would become involved in the everyday lives of the inner city youth.  He created the organization known as A Better LA.  

The Los Angeles Police Department has a gang unit called Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (C.R.A.S.H.) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office has their equivalent, Operation Safe Streets.  Nether has been very successful in stopping gang violence.

Law enforcement has always attacked gang violence in a punitive way.  They tried to keep gang members off the streets and arrest them whenever they could.  Pete Carroll saw that the aforementioned method wasn't working.

I worked C.R.A.S.H. and I knew it never worked.  We just tried to keep our fingers in the dike, worked our shifts, made as many arrests as we could and went home.  Frankly, we never cared that much.

Pete Carroll did care.  He cared more than the law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County.  He cared more than the Community groups who received tax payer dollars, but didn't leave their offices.

Pete went to the gangs.

Carroll goes straight into the inner city "Housing Projects," late at night, with just a driver and a cell phone.  He wants to show the youth, gang members, ex-convicts, etc., that he has faith in them.

When I went to that location, I had a partner and  two shotguns with 50 rounds of ammunition.  We also had nine millimeter automatics with two hundred rounds of ammunition and back-up guns. 

Pete Carroll walks into the middle of a group of gang members, some having spent 15 years in prison, wearing a tee-shirt and white shorts.

This group of guys told Carroll about their prison time and how they figure to be dead in the next couple of years.  Pete wouldn't hear about any of that!  He gives them his cell phone number!

Carroll arranges for many of the young men and kids to come to watch a USC practice.  He has them meet the team and speak to the players.  They all seem to love it. 

The players love to share their experiences with the less fortunate and the guests just love to be around Trojan football players.

While Carroll is doing the above, his organization is making contact with hundreds of gang members.  Unlike other past organization, Carroll's never sleeps.  When the gang members are on the street, Pete and his organization are.

Pete Carroll has volunteered his time and given money to his organization.  The Sheriff of Los Angeles County and the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department have walked with Carroll during marches A Better LA.  The organization marches on the streets of the inner-city.

Pete Carroll is considered a success by law enforcement of Los Angeles County.  He has done something that none of the police agencies nor community programs have ever been able to do.

Pete Carroll has gained the respect of the inner-city youth and they are listening to him.  Many in law enforcement have said that they have never seen anything like it.

Pete Carroll's Trojans teams are 90-15.  He has the highest winning percentage of any active coach with at least five years experience.  Currently he has four players from last year's team who are starting in the NFL.  There is at least one of his players in all 16 NFL games this week, etc, etc. 

Pete Carroll is a success and them some.

His personal success comes with every person he may have saved from making the wrong decision.  That makes him a man among men.