While others might shy away from the controversy that may have driven them out of town, Pete Carroll, former coach of the multi-sanctioned USC football team, showed this morning why he will Win Forever.
That's the title of his new book, which he promoted on the KTLA Morning News in advance of tonight's book signing in Huntington Beach.
During what was billed as a "rough" interview, Carroll blocked specifics about the harsh penalties imposed on the Trojans for infractions during his watch by employing the time-tested defense known as IAITB ("It's All In The Book").
The first hard-hitting question, from Roger Lodge of AM 830's The Sports Lodge, was what is the main thing Carroll hopes readers take away from Win Forever.
Yowzers, what a gut punch!
The coach's answer concerned "the power of finding one's own personal philosophy," which can help them, as the subtitle of his book puts it, "Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion."
He explained that after the "hard times"--following the failure of his second NFL coaching stint and before he arrived to become the messiah of Southern Cal--he realized that gaining that sense of who he is, where he was going and what he was all about "led to the whole USC experience."
You, too, have such a personal philosophy; you just have to connect to it, Carroll explained.
KTLA anchorman and USC alum Frank Buckley asked most of the truly hard questions concerning the sanctions, which include a post-season ban and lost scholarships.
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- He feels responsible for what happened to the USC program because he was the head coach.
- The great thing about the book is it gives him an opportunity to talk about the controversy. The book outlines the expectations, both academically and on the field, that are put on the program.
- The stiff penalties against USC football arose from "an isolated issue."
- "Stuff happens."
- He and program supporters are now battling the severity of the sanctions, and he is happy to keep talking about it because it allows his to talk about USC.
Reggie Bush put USC in a "tough situation, no doubt."
- There are facts about the case that are "still out there" and "we may never know."
- What's happening to USC presents "a wonderful opportunity" for the NCAA and university communities to talk about the severity of penalties imposed on schools. "One person outside the university setting can attack you. We can't let that happen."
- He did not leave Southern California for the head coaching job with the Seattle Seahawks to escape the USC controversies. He did it because the NFL opportunity was "so extraordinary, so unique. All the elements that would even have me consider movement were there. It was too good to turn down being the competitor I am."
- You really have to "dig into" the sanctions against USC versus other universities to find the answer as to whether the Trojans are being too harshly penalized. But the university can challenge the sanctions, and "that's what we're doing." Things that led to the punishment were "understood wrongly," especially concerning what it was like to be on campus and practice sessions.
Asked to be more specific about just one of those things that were understood wrongly, Carroll explained there would not be enough time to explain. That's why it's great his book--which was written with sportscaster Yogi Roth, one of Carroll's former assistant coaches at USC--is hitting store shelves right now. People can read all about it, take notes and apply that information to what's going on, Carroll explained.
Maybe he'll have more time to go into it at tonight's 7 p.m. book signing at the Barnes & Noble in the Bella Terra shopping center at 7881 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach. You have to have a copy of Win Forever and a receipt from the store to get a wristband for the event, which is being handed out there right now.
And don't be too hard on coach; money raised from sales of the book go to his inner-city program A Better LA, which aides "the peacekeepers" and "most valuable players" in tough neighborhoods.