I don’t know if you heard, but there is a job opening in Southern California. It’s a pretty good gig, head football coach at USC. Although about 10 years ago this wouldn’t have seemed like a job to jump at, it is now one of the premier jobs in college football. Since Pete Carroll took over the helm 9 seasons ago, the University of Southern California has become synonymous with terms like “BCS”, “Dynasty” and “Powerhouse”, but before Carroll arrived on campus, there was a much different tune that people tend to forget.
Before Mike Garrett, USC Athletic Director, stumbled upon his fourth choice for new football coach, the Trojans had not won 10 games in a season in over a decade. I know that seems impossible given their success of the aught’s, but it is true. What is also surprising is that they hadn’t been to a bowl game in 5 years. But I would have to say that the drought of no national championship in 22 years was the most shocking for me. What Pete Carroll did in his tenure is nothing short of amazing. Whether or not he did it completely legit is still yet to be seen, but until someone disproves it I have to give the guy props.
Now that Carroll has set off for Seattle, Mike Garrett is left looking for another coach again. Although this time, he cannot take a chance on a failed NFL coach. He cannot take a chance on an offensive or defensive coordinator with no head coaching experience. If he is going to pluck another coach from a program, that team or its coach had better be in the same echelon of programs as USC. Boosters, Alumni and fans will have Garrett under a microscope, watching close his every move. There have been rumors about him contacting Jeff Fisher and Jack Del Rio. Both proven successful NFL coaches AND alumni of USC. There are also rumblings of them trying to contact Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy, but I think that is more of Garrett showing that he can be aggressive in the search while knowing he had no shot at those two. The search has not and will not be limited to just NFL coaches. Maybe Garrett can lure Jim Harbaugh away from Stanford. Perhaps he can pull another big name, high profile coach like Bob Stoops or Chris Peterson. Though both are unlikely, I would never say they are out of the question because we are dealing with a premier conference, premier school, premier location and a premier salary.
Today though, the coaching selection may have taken a more direct path. This morning, it was reported by SB Nation that a contract had been delivered to Jack Del Rio. If Del Rio signs the contract it would make him the next head coach of the Trojans while making him forfeit the remaining $15 million dollars on his salary in Jacksonville. Also, Sports by Brooks posted a video of an interview of Del Rio on his way into the office this morning where he does not dispute interest in USC and claims business as usual. If he takes this job, he will join the many player-coaches in college football.
Even though they are looking for a new coach, I think it is safe to say that recruiting should not fall off and there shouldn’t be a down time in success. Yes, some of Carroll’s recruits have backed out of their commitments but no matter who coaches, I think the recruiting pipeline will still flow in favor of USC. It’s an elite program in a Southern California town that turns you into a celebrity as well as a football god. Not to mention the babes that frequent Los Angeles. I can’t really see a reason not to go to USC unless of course you are getting recruited by The Ohio State University as well. Seantrel Henderson, I’m talking to you.
Ultimately, if Del Rio decides to take the job at USC and then doesn’t find the success he has in the NFL, he can always go back to coaching the Jaguars…They will probably be the Los Angeles Jaguars by then anyway.