Times goes Carroll-ing
Sports editor Nate Peterson was brief Monday when he called to tell me about the hiring of our new managing editor.”We hired Carroll,” he said.I would later figure out he was talking about Rick Carroll, editor of the Aspen Daily News. But before reality sunk in, I contemplated a much different scenario, in which a different Carroll – USC football coach Pete Carroll – was joining the Times.It all seemed to make sense – in my head, anyway. The newspaper’s management had been uncharacteristically quiet about the hiring process, and at one point divulged that there was a secret candidate. They intimated they were hoping to make a big splash in hiring Allyn Harvey’s replacement. Pete Carroll would be a tsunami. His name has been mentioned in openings from Arizona to South Beach, so why not here? You’d be hard-pressed to top Carroll’s references. He has Hall of Famers and Heisman trophy winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush speaking on his behalf. I had a fellow employee from Colonial Carwash in Niantic, Conn. “I think he could go down as one of the greatest coaches ever. I think he already is,” Leinart told the Arizona Republic on Nov. 30. What did my co-worker say about me? I worked wonders with a chamois. Advantage: Carroll.Why, you ask, would Pete Carroll leave Southern California, a burgeoning dynasty and a loyal following that includes Will Farrell, Marcus Allen and that guy who used to be married to Jessica Simpson? Why would he overlook other jobs reportedly offering $5 million per season? Maybe he heard about the employee housing – or the popcorn machine. Maybe Carroll can’t get enough of the moratorium. But seriously, who can?Carroll has established a strong rapport with the media. Perhaps he’s curious to experience things on the other side of the microphone. There’s little doubt he’d be a perfect fit. Carroll has a proven track record of growth and success (let’s hope his tribulations in New England and with the Jets didn’t come up during the interview). In six years with the Trojans, Carroll is 64-12 and has made five straight BCS bowl appearances. Those types of triumphs sure could help us sell more free newspapers. There’s little doubt Carroll does his research. He’s a master schemer and is capable of tormenting offenses with innovative play calling. Earlier this year his defense made Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn look like Dr. Quinn – and not in a good way.Pete Carroll’s charisma and enthusiasm would be a welcome addition here. Just ask his players.”He does some things you don’t expect him to do, like sing a rap song,” USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson recently told The Associated Press. That sure would be an upgrade over Agar’s impromptu show tunes: If I hear any more “Les Miserables,” I might crack. “If you’re having a bad day, he can cheer you up” Jackson continued. “His attitude is contagious. He’s not artificial at all, he is what he is. I don’t know how old he is. He’s something going on 22.”Actually he’s 55, but his youthful enthusiasm is just what the Times staff needs. Remember the practical joke he and former tailback LenDale White played? The two feigned a disagreement, and White stormed off the practice field. White proceeded to go to the top of an adjacent building, continued his tirade then threw a dummy wearing his No. 21 jersey off the edge.Picture this: Carroll and photographer Paul Conrad start a shouting match (this could happen any hour of any day, mind you), then Conrad storms off (again, any hour of any day). Moments later, a mannequin with Conrad’s snow pants and well-worn Basalt High School sweatshirt is hurled off the back of the building. Genius.Then again, Paul is a liability on solid ground, let alone on the roof of the Times Tuff Shed, so this prank probably wouldn’t arouse much, if any, commotion. Carroll’s contribution to fashion should not be overlooked, either. Under the current regime, jeans and T-shirts have become the uniform. On the most special of occasions, Stewart Oksenhorn shows up in his finest flannel pajama pants. Carroll’s spandex mock turtleneck, polo shirt and pleated khaki combination would be an interesting addition to this “casual” newsroom. Formal Fridays will never be the same.In truth, Pete Carroll would be the biggest acquisition for any corporation since the Packers traded for Brett Favre or the recent hiring of Jose Canseco as night manager of a California Quiznos – be sure and ask him about the smokehouse beef brisket. Don’t get me wrong, I will welcome Rick Carroll with open arms. This Pete Carroll scenario, however, was too intriguing to ignore.Hey, it could happen. If not, I’m sure Nick Saban will be available in eight months.Jon Maletz, aka “The Hammer,” can be reached at email@example.com
Let’s make some skiing predictions. I made my X Games snowboarding predictions a day earlier and remain only mildly lukewarm in terms of confidence, but maybe I’ll feel better about the skiers.