Background and college
Born September 15, 1951 in San Francsico, Carroll attended Redwood High School in Larkspur, where he was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball, earning the school's Athlete of the Year award as a senior in 1969. After high school, he attended junior college at the nearby College of Marin, where he played football for two years (lettering in his second year), before transferring to the University of the Pacific. At Pacific, Carroll played free safety for two years, earning All-Pacific Coast Conference honors both years (1971-72) and earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1973. After graduation, Carroll tried out for the Honolulu Hawaiians of the World Football League at their training camp in Riverside but did not make the team due to shoulder problems. To make ends meet, he found a job selling CertainTeed roofing materials in the Bay Area, but he found he wasn't good at it and soon moved on; it would be his only non-football-related job.
Before the NFL
Carroll's energetic and positive personality made a good impression on his head coach at Pacific, Chester Caddas. When Caddas found out Carroll was interested in coaching, he offered him a job as a graduate assistant on his staff at Pacific. Carroll agreed and enrolled as a graduate student, earning a secondary teaching credential and Master's degree in physical education in 1976, while serving as a graduate assistant for three years and working with the wide receivers and secondary defenders. After graduating from Pacific, Carroll's colleague Bob Cope was hired by the University of Arkansas and he convinced Lou Holtz, then the head coach of the Razorbacks, to also hire Carroll .In 1979, Carroll moved to Iowa State University, where he was again an assistant working on the secondary under Earle Bruce. When Bruce moved onto Ohio State University, he brought Carroll, who acted as an assistant coach in charge of the secondary. The Ohio State squad made it to the 1980 Rose Bowl where they lost to USC. Carroll next spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at North Carolina State University until 1983,where he became assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.
Before the Jets
Carroll left Pacific after a year and entered the NFL in 1984 as the defensive backs coach of the Buffalo Bills. The next year he moved onto the Minnesota Vikings where he held a similar position for five seasons (1985-89)
With the Jets
His success with the Vikings led to his hiring by the Jets, where he served as defensive coordinator under Bruce Coslet for four seasons (1990-93). When there was an opening for the Vikings' head coach position in 1992, he was a serious candidate but lost the position to Dennis Green. In 1994, Carroll was elevated to head coach of the Jets. Known for energy and youthful enthusiasm, Carroll painted a basketball court in the parking lot of the team's practice facility where he and his assistant coaches regularly played three-on-three games there during their spare time. The season started well, the Jets being in contention as late as week 12, with a 6-5 record, but then in the Fake Spike Game, the Jets lost to a late trick play by Dan Marino. The Jets nosedived after this, losing their remaining games that season, to finish 6-10. Carroll was promptly fired at the end of the season, one of the first things done was the removal of the basketball court. In a strange decision, Jets owner Leon Hess decided he wanted to win, so hired Rich Kotite to replace Carroll.
After the Jets
Carroll was hired for the next season by the San Francisco 49ers, where he served as defensive coordinator for the following two seasons (1995-96). His return to success as the defensive coordinator led to his hiring as the head coach of the New England Patriots in 1997, replacing respected coach Bill Parcells, who had resigned after disputes with the team's ownership. His 1997 Patriots team won the AFC East division title, but his subsequent two teams did not fare as well—losing in the wild card playoff round in 1998, and missing the playoffs after a late-season slide in 1999—and he was fired after the 1999 season.
After the NFL
Carroll was named the Trojans' head football coach on December 15, 2000, signing a five-year contract to replace fired coach Paul Hackett. However, after the slow start, Carroll's teams proceeded to go 67-7 over the next 74 games, winning two national championships and bringing USC back to college football prominence.
|Preceeded by||Jets Head Coach||Succeeded by|
|Bruce Coslet||1994||Rich Kotite|