John Calipari and Pete Carroll: Leaving The Scene Of The Crime

Paul McGuillicuddyAnalyst IJanuary 10, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 26: Head coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans celebrates against the Boston College Eagles during the 2009 Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park on December 26, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

If all goes as planned, the Seattle Seahawks will announce Pete Carroll as their new coach early this week. The two sides continue to negotiate the extent of Carroll’s potential role with the NFC West team.

Carroll leaves behind a USC program that he led to 97 wins including a 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the 2005 BCS title game.

Carroll’s potential move appears to be that of a coach looking for a new challenge. There is not much more the San Francisco native can accomplish at Southern Cal. His teams have won 10 or more games in seven of his nine seasons. Beyond that, 50 Trojans have moved on to the NFL during Carroll’s tenure including Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.

With the past closing in on him, the nine-year coach knows the time is now for him to make a move.

Recently, the USC Athletic Department self-imposed sanctions upon its men’s basketball team. A similar request was made for the Trojan football team. The NCAA declined, thus sending a clear message to Southern Cal: WE want to continue the investigation of the Trojan football program.

It has been four years since Reggie Bush left USC, and that is about how long the NCAA has been looking into possible violations surrounding the Heisman winner. A forced deposition could be coming from the star tailback soon after the NFL season. It appears as if the granules of sand are quickly diminishing from the hour glass.

No one knows what sanctions lie ahead, and Carroll has good reason for not wanting to stay around and find out.

Carroll’s case parallels that of current University of Kentucky basketball coach, John Calipari. The coach who made popular the mantra “Refuse to Lose,” is on the short list of coaches who have led more than one school to the NCAA’s Final Four. He is on an even shorter list of coaches who have multiple appearances to the Final Four vacated because of violations.

Calipari’s named has been cleared of any wrong-doing with the 1996 University of Massachusetts Minutemen and the 2008 Memphis University Tigers. In other words, Calipari has avoided any consequences for those two programs of which he had direct supervision.

Much of the blame for the situation in Memphis has been placed on the NCAA. College basketball’s governing body gave Derrick Rose his eligibility only to recant that decision later. On the surface, Calipari avoids blame, but it is hard to ignore the coach’s role in the infraction. The NCAA oversees roughly 400,000 athletes. Calipari supervises less than 20.

Both Carroll and Calipari have more than likely addressed current and former players about personal responsibility: responsibility to self, family, team, and school.

By week’s end, Carroll will have probably moved up the coast from Los Angeles to Seattle. Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats will still be undefeated. Both leaving behind the responsibility for cleaning up situations which they were entrusted.

What should remain with these coaches is the reputation for leaving when the crime came to light.

Pickin' Splinters