Over the last six years, Pete Carroll has been consistent about at least three things: he is happy at USC; he is constantly in search of new challenges; and he would only return to the coaching in the NFL if given the level of control he enjoys at USC, which is total control. Until approached by Wayne Huizenga of the Miami Dolphins, Carroll did not believe that such a situation existed at an NFL franchise, and so did not seriously entertain the notion of returning to the NFL.
Huizenga described a setup at the Dolphins that was exactly what Carroll thought could not exist in the NFL. According to Carroll’s nature of seeking new challenges, he seriously considered the Dolphins job. After all, he has conquered just about every challenge at USC with five straight Pac-10 championships, five straight BCS bowl appearances (with four wins), and five straight top five recruiting classes. In fact, I believe he was closer to declaring himself a candidate for the job than maybe anyone realizes. However, when Carroll sat down to earnestly work through his decision-making process, he came to the conclusion that there were still challenges to address at USC, and he loves his job at USC too much to leave. I don’t think he made his final decision until just after his Tuesday press conference upon returning from vacation in Costa Rica.
I think this is an extremely positive development for USC fans who want Carroll to stay. If, after being presented with this opportunity by Huizenga and comparing his USC job to this potential NFL gig, Carroll decided to remain a Trojan, what other job could possibly draw Carroll away from USC? He has glimpsed his ideal NFL job and come to the conclusion that he is better off where he is. He is possibly more certain than ever before about his future at USC. This is great news for USC fans.
Jill Painter at the L.A. Daily News has a similar take on the situation as me. From her column:
"If you're asking me if I'm ever going (to the NFL again), if I was ever going to go, that (the Dolphins' job) would've been the best one," Carroll said.
Sam Farmer at the L.A. Times argues that staying at USC would be a much better decision for Carroll than the one John McKay made to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Update: Pete Carroll said as much to the Daily News on Thursday: