Throughout a 14-year run in which John Schneider and Pete Carroll oversaw the most successful run in Seahawks history, those two would sit side by side for big press conferences, be it a contract extension or the addition of a star player via free agency or a trade or a look ahead to an upcoming draft.
On Tuesday, however, Schneider sat on stage alone, a general manager who is beginning the process of hiring a new head coach to succeed Carroll a week after the team announced that Carroll would no longer be the team’s head coach, having amicably agreed to move into an advisory role.
"Emotions have been all over the place the last couple of days," Schneider said.
Schneider had plenty of complimentary things to say about Carroll, noting, "We've been so blessed to have that relationship. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have hooked up with Pete 14 years ago… Very blessed to have worked with Pete, all the positive lessons, the leadership lessons and thoughts and philosophies. When I say emotions are all over the place, it's moving on from a very, very historic partnership and an amazing, amazing level of success and achievement and Pete and myself are extremely proud of."
But Schneider also knows there isn't too much time for sentimentality when the Seahawks are one of seven teams looking for a new head coach this offseason. And Schneider also wasn't shying away from the reason he is now charged with finding a new head coach for the organization.
"We are all here today because we underachieved in 2023," Schneider said. "We all did. Now we're in a situation where we all need to get better. We understand that the 12s, the fans, the community, (Seahawks Chair Jody Allen), everybody in this building deserves better. We had high expectations for 2023. We overachieved in 2022, and quite frankly we underachieved in 2023. I think everybody recognizes that. It's time for all of us to look in the mirror in this organization, myself included, obviously, and improve, learn, and move forward."
A change at head coach also means a slightly different, and larger, role for Schneider, who explained, "the coaching staff did not fall under my umbrella, and now it will." Schneider will also have final say over the roster, which is a change from when Carroll was coach.
Interviews with coaching candidates will begin this week, Schneider said, and as has always been his philosophy when it comes to building a roster, Schneider plans to leave no stone unturned when searching for the right person for the job.
"Too many is not too many," Schneider said. "We'll handle it just like our free agency process, our draft process. We're ready in everything, anybody that you can pretty much think of—I had a gentleman email me the other day whose buddy is a Pop Warner coach down the road, and he's extremely interested too. It's just really been amazing the calls and the notes and everything you get. It's really a—I don't want to say a confidence booster—but it's a great reputation for this organization, a really cool feeling throughout the National Football League of what people think of this organization on the outside. I think people recognize it's a very intriguing job, and one that you can come in and have a great partnership with everybody here and get rolling. I think people will recognize that."
As for what Schneider is looking for when it comes to finding a new head coach, he pointed to maintaining the culture that already exists in the organization, and to helping the team to evolve so it can reach its potential on the field.
"We have a clear directive from Jody Allen moving forward as we embark on our new coaching search," Schneider said. "It's clear, it's concise. We want to keep our positive culture. Everything that's been created here, everything in this building. There are so many special people in this building. It's amazing to be on the phone with all of these agents and people that are interested in this position, and to be able to explain to them like, 'Hey. There's a foundation here and it's incredible.'
"Our culture and, how are we evolving? Who's going to help us move to the next level? How are we going to compete with everybody that we need to compete with and advance this organization moving forward? We're going to learn so much in this process about the ideas. I'm proud about all of the connections we have around the National Football League, and we've learned a lot already. To be able to understand what that looks like. Different opinions, different philosophies, open the door to different ideas, whether it's a defensive head coach or an offensive head coach or a special teams guy that is becoming a head coach. I think that's all really important."
When it comes to the type of coach Schneider is looking to hire, he said he's open to coaches with offensive, defensive and special teams backgrounds, and to coaches who have head coaching experience, as well as coordinators who are looking to become first-time head coaches. And when it comes to convincing coaching prospects that Seattle is the right fit for them, Schneider sees the Seahawks job as an attractive one after the team went 9-8 in each of the last two seasons while at the same time adding an infusion of young talent in the past two drafts.
"I think it's a young, talented team that feels like they're right on the cusp," Schneider said. "I think there's a lot of guys who have a ton of confidence in their abilities. They're all highly disappointed in what just happened, and I think, to a man, they would all tell you—and I know this from the exit interviews that I had—that we still should be playing. Everyone was very disappointed. But I think it's a great core, I think we're a very attractive job because of that. There's young talent all over the place."
Seahawks clear out their lockers and sit in their last team meeting at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. to conclude their 2023 season.