Pete Carroll says he does “feel responsible being connected” with USC’s latest NCAA problems, but he is “very proud of those years,” telling an Associated Press reporter in New York at the start of his two-week promotional tour for his new book that his conscious is clean.
“It’s been most difficult to watch everybody have to deal with it, whether it’s the players or the coaches or the fans who support the university,” USC’s former head football coach said tonight as he began promoting his book, “Win Forever,” which comes out Tuesday.
Carroll, who left USC three months ago to take the job with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, will be at Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach at 7 p.m. on Friday, and at Borders in Torrance on Monday, July 19, at 7 p.m. to sign copies.
The recent NCAA sanctions, punishment directly related to former tailback Reggie Bush’s connection to a fledgling sports agent, could lead to USC’s 2004 BCS title being vacated along with Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy.
“There’s nothing I can do about that now,” Carroll said. “The games were won. The challenges and accomplishments are all in the books. We stand behind all those efforts.”
Carroll has found a way to channel defending himself and his program into getting the word out about his book.
“We spent so much time working to do things better than it’s ever been done before in all of our ways,” Carroll told the AP reporter. “Not just in coaching and in the Xs and Os part of it, but in recruiting and evaluating and dealing with the image we projected.
“I’m really happy to be out talking about the issues and the book gives me a great opportunity to bring back the principles so people can understand better what we’re all about.
“The message is giving the reader a chance to connect with their potential and then also trying to take them where they can learn how to perform. That is part of everything we do in football. We have to figure out how good we can be and then we have to try to get there.
“Hopefully, people from all different walks will be able to take something from that.”
Wednesday, HBO airs an episode of “Real Sports” where reporter Andrea Kremer sits down with Carroll in Seattle to discuss the USC situation.
Kremer told us about the interview: “The audience can draw their own conclusions. From my perspective, the majority of the interview was spent talking about USC, and even what you’ll see in the finished story will be the most robust discussion he or anyone else has had on the topic. We didn’t speak in generalities.
“I read the entire report and did a lot of background. What I try to do really is, ‘What do people really want to know?’ He’s got the book, the new job, and then this USC news came out, so you want to ask everything and find the best material — and (USC) dominated it and quite a bit.
“There’s no question he cares about everythign that happened; questioning his legacy is important to him. I asked if he was mad at Reggie Bush, and he said that he felt bad for him and still loved him. He equated it to a kid screwing up.
“You want to believe him, and when you talk to him, he’s so charismatic and energetic and lights up and is passonate.”
Kremer said she also interviewed former USC (and current Cincinnati Bengals) quarterback Carson Palmer and former New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe, both of whom played for Carroll.