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Monday, January 11, 2010

PETE, WE'RE SAD YOU'RE LEAVING!

Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion
(The above link is for Pete's NEW BOOK out May '10.)





Thankfully, the news that Papa Pete Carroll was leaving his post as coach at USC to return to the NFL to helm the Seattle Seahawks broke mostly over this past weekend. Word is the official announcement will be made at a press conference sometime tomorrow. At any rate, the timing saved this author tons of begging and unsightly groveling. Thanks for that, Papa Pete!
That his departure saddens the core of the USC football fan base goes without saying. Papa Pete brought us many, many years of excitement and victory. We held our heads high and basked in the glory. We packed the Coliseum and travelled to what games we could.
That every good thing comes to an end is inevitable. Nobody that loves and admires Papa Pete can blame him for leaving now and jumping at this golden opportunity. He has enhanced the USC football program, the surrounding USC community and the nation with his shining example. I wish for him now that he not get splashed when the scandals hit the fan, for he doesn't deserve it. It's time for the college recruiting system to clean house. Anyone who has ever gotten close to a university sports program in anyway can tell you that what has happened with Reggie, Damian, etc. is just business as usual. Business behind closed doors, that is.
But if you just happened to have a kid whose apartment was in the same huge on-campus complex as the football players, and said same child also marched in the band during the Carson Palmer years, your eyes got opened real wide, real fast. When you visit for parent's weekend or just because, and the complex parking lot is filled with Lexus and Cadillac SUV's right along side the dilapidated Honda's and Toyota's you don't have to ask too many students before you find out who the 'rich' kids are: the football team.
But don't be misled here. For alot of the players are just struggling students like many of the rest attending USC. My own daughter attended solely because of her intelligence and drive AND the fact that she received a 50% scholarship! Otherwise, it might have been community college for her, too! And Papa Pete is known for his character and record when it comes to recruiting, and wearing blinders as concerns station and privilege.
Just as in politics though, there's lots of behind the scenes wrangling in college sports. It's almost impossible to LIVE and attend school at a university like USC if you're not well off. The cost of living in L.A., books, tuition, labs, dorms, cafeteria, etc., etc., can eat any budget alive unless you're The Donald! I like to point to my daughter's diploma and tell people: 'that little piece of paper only cost me $200K!'.
A coach must have reasonable expectations of functioning within this system and still retain his dignity, if he is a man of morals; the fine line walked everyday depends on the individual coach. Otherwise, the college coaching system would be manned by lots of lamers. I, personally, don't see that in college sports.
So, to the college sports authority: IT'S TIME TO 'FESS UP & FIX! WE don't care if some running back needs a car to get around! I ride the bus in L.A., not much fun! Why shouldn't we help the qb's family if they need it? They have worked just as hard all their lives to produce that fine young student, football player and man. They deserve it! Should they miss the championship game just because like alot of us, they live paycheck to paycheck? That wouldn't be fair, would it? What if that tailback was YOUR kid and YOU were in that boat?
And finally, to Papa Pete: As a happy USC mom of a daughter who marched with pride, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the thrills and the chills! My daughter's college experience was MORE than a dream come true, it was actually a small miracle she was able to attend such a fine institution. A large part of my own enjoyment of these years (and her's) stemmed from the football games and the outstanding job you did as head coach in leading us from triumphant victory to triumphant victory. These are memories I hold very dear and will forever treasure. BEST OF LUCK to you in your third attempt at the NFL, though I feel very strongly you won't need it. Your warmth, wit and character have come shining through in your stint here at dear old USC. I'm sure you'll only shine brighter in Seattle! Who knows, I might even miss you so much, I'll ditch da Bears! FIGHT ON, PETE & thanks!

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