Remembering Pete Carroll’s first game as USC head coach

USC coach Pete Carroll holds BCS Championship trophy after 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2005.

USC coach Pete Carroll holds BCS Championship trophy after 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2005.

Mediocre NFL coach taking over USC? This looked like the makings of a big mistake.

Well, that was one of my thoughts when Pete Carroll was named the new USC head coach prior to the 2001 season. As head coach of the New England Patriots and New York Jets, Carroll’s record was average at best.

And the USC fans were vicious.

He was unwanted, and after his first game, Carroll probably didn’t endear himself to the USC faithful.

Carroll won his  first game, a 21-10 victory over San Jose State. During the post-game press conference, the USC band was playing, as is their tradition.

In the middle the press conference, Carroll goes something like, “Jiminy cricket, does that band ever stop.” A few of us reporters chuckled as Carroll was annoyed. A few of the USC staff and I assume boosters began to sit up a little straighter, not amused by the comments.

Things didn’t go well for USC as it lost five of the next six games. Looking back, it was surprising as USC had stars such as Carson Palmer and Troy Polamalu.

One of those victories came over Arizona State. And the situation was similar. Post-game press conference, Pete was at the podium and the band was playing.

Then Pete blurted out, “I really love that band.”

This time, the whole room chuckled.

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