A good mix

Posted Jan 20, 2010

Pete Carroll, the Seahawks’ 10-day-old head coach, has reached into his past in assembling his first NFL staff since 1999.

The news conference was to introduce John Schneider as the Seahawks’ general manager. But coach Pete Carroll also used the occasion Wednesday to announce additions to his coaching staff.

“We’ve got a really good core, a good mix of experience and background,” Carroll said.

Jeremy Bates, Carroll’s offensive coordinator at the University of Southern California last season, will fill the same role for the Seahawks. The offensive staff being assembled by the Seahawks’ 10-day-old head coach also will include NFL veteran Alex Gibbs (line), as well Jedd Fisch (quarterbacks) and Pat McPherson (tight ends) who coached with Bates with the Denver Broncos.

“I love the familiarity we have on the offensive side of the ball,” Carroll said. “Jeremy is really ready to rock and roll and hit it full speed. Alex is a big player in all of that when we introduce the running game.”

On defense, coordinator Gus Bradley and line coach Dan Quinn are being retained, while Ken Norton Jr. (linebackers) and Jerry Gray (defensive backs) have been added. Norton also coached with Carroll at USC.

“I’m really pumped up about Gus,” Carroll said. “We’ve been working late at night here to put our thoughts together. The background between Gus and Monte Kiffin and myself is really unique, and we’re very fortunate.”

It was Kiffin, the long-time NFL defensive coordinator, who highly recommended Bradley for a spot on the staff of since-fired coach Jim Mora last year. Carroll also has known Kiffin for years and refers to Bradley as “Monte’s right-hand man.”

Brian Schneider, another addition from Carroll’s USC staff, will coach the special teams.

Carroll obviously has reached into his past in assembling what will be his first NFL staff since he coached the New England Patriots from 1997-99, and done it quickly.

“Pete talked about what he wanted to do,” CEO Tod Leiweke said. “He got on the phone and he’s burning the midnight oil. We’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time, and it feels good.”

Carroll still needs to sign a running backs coach and finalize the addition of a wide receivers coach.

Schneider, meanwhile, said he will retain vice president of player personnel Ruston Webster and director of pro personnel Will Lewis, as well as their staffs.

“Why would you change?” Schneider said after the news conference. “Look who’s already here. These are some great people who do a great job.”

Schneider worked for the Seahawks in 2000 and has been in the league since 1993, so his familiarity with – and respect for – Webster and Lewis was a plus. For him, and Leiweke.

“John knows people in this organization, and I’m somebody who thinks we have good people here,” Leiweke said. “When John came through on his interview, there were a lot of high-fives in the hallway and that meant something to us.”

Pete’s posse

A look at the new assistant coaches that have been hired by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll:


Coordinator: Jeremy Bates
Spent last season as Carroll’s offensive coordinator at USC, and Carroll has called him “one of the young, unbelievably bright minds in the NFL.” Prior to his stint at USC, Bates, 33, was an assistant coach for the Denver Broncos (2006-08), New York Jets (2005) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-04), working under Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden and Jeff Fisher. A quarterback at Tennessee and Rice, Bates coached the position for all three teams. His father, Jim, is a long-time NFL coach who has served as defensive coordinator for the Falcons, Dolphins, Broncos and Bucs.

Quarterbacks: Jedd Fisch

Spent last season as the offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota. Fisch, 33, broke into coaching in 1998 with the New Jersey team in the Arena League and then was a graduate assistant for two seasons at the University of Florida. He has since coached in various capacities for the Houston Texans (2001-2003), Baltimore Ravens (2004-07) and Denver Broncos (2008). He coached wide receivers with the Broncos and wide receivers and quarterbacks with the Ravens.

Line: Alex Gibbs
After coaching in college for 15 years – Duke, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio State, Auburn and Georgia – Gibbs, 68, took his zone-blocking scheme to the NFL. His pro stops included the Denver Broncos (1984-87 and 1995-2003), Oakland Raiders (1988-89), San Diego Chargers (1990-91), Indianapolis Colts (1992), Kansas City Chiefs (1993-94), Atlanta Falcons (2004-06) and Houston Texans (2008-09). Gibbs has been referred to as the guru, savant and Godfather of the zone-blocking scheme. 

Tight ends: Pat McPherson
Coached tight ends for the Denver Broncos for two seasons (2007-08) after coaching the quarterbacks for four seasons (2003-06). His father, Bill, was a long-time coach and front-office man for the San Francisco 49ers. McPherson, 40, previously had coaching stints with the Broncos (offensive assistant 1999-2002; defensive assistant 1998); 49ers (defensive quality control 1996); and Bellarmine Prep (defensive coordinator 1994-97).


Linebackers: Ken Norton Jr.
The son of former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, it’s difficult to determine whether the younger Norton has left a bigger mark as a player or a coach. After averaging 8.8 yards rushing as a running back at Westchester (Calif.) High School, Norton, now 43, became a standout linebacker at UCLA and then in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers – winning three Super Bowl rings and being voted to three Pro Bowls. Since becoming the linebackers coach at USC in 2004, Norton’s protégés have included the Seahawks’ Lofa Tatupu, as well as the Bengals’ Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga, the Texans’ Brian Cushing, the Browns’ Kaluka Maiava and the Packers’ Clay Matthews.

Secondary: Jerry Gray
Like Norton, Gray, 47, had a Pro Bowl career before becoming a coach. A first-round draft choice in 1985 out of Texas, Gray played for the Los Angeles Rams (1985-91), Houston Oilers (1992) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993). He has been the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills (2001-05) and also coached for the Tennessee Titans (1997-2000) and Washington Redskins (2006-09) after coaching at Southern Methodist (1995-96).


Brian Schneider
He also has coached tight ends, linebackers and safeties in college, but Schneider, 38, has always coached special teams. He broke into coaching at Colorado State (1994-2002), his alma mater, before moving to UCLA (2003-05) and Iowa State (2006). He coached special teams for the Oakland Raiders (2007-08) before joining Carroll’s staff at USC last season.

-- Clare Farnsworth