Coaching Seahawks is a family affair for Pete Carroll, sons

Sep 11, 2015, 6:12 AM | Updated: 9:34 am
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and his son, Nate, walk off the field together. (Photo: Rod Mar)...
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and his son, Nate, walk off the field together. (Photo: Rod Mar)
(Photo: Rod Mar)

When the Seahawks take the field Sunday, if someone yells “Coach Carroll,” three heads could turn.

That’s because along with Head Coach Pete, there’s assistant receivers coach Nate, and newly hired assistant line coach Brennan. All are Carrolls.

For Pete, it’s an absolute joy that makes up for all the time away from home throughout his illustrious coaching career.

“It’s a great opportunity for a dad to be working with your kids and see them grow and all that. And they’re good at what they do, too. They’re really hard working. They pull their weight quite well,” Pete said.

Brennan worked for his dad at USC, joining the staff as an assistant in 2002 after playing tight end in college at Delaware and Pittsburgh. Pete lured him from the University of Miami earlier this year.

Younger brother Nate graduated USC five years ago with a degree in Psychology after an illustrious high school career. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when his dad offered him a coaching gig in Seattle, unsolicited.

“We never really talked about it growing up; being a coach. It wasn’t a focus as a young kid,” Nate said. “I mean he’d tell me stuff here and there but it wasn’t until midway through college that I realized [coaching] would be my best opportunity.”

Being eight years older, Brennan says it’s a treat to be able to spend so much time with his little brother for the first time along with his reconnecting with his dad, even though they’re now working virtually around the clock as the season kicks into high gear.

“It’s been so much fun. I’ve got a lot of challenges here in my new position (working with the offensive line). But Nate’s helped, the whole staff has been awesome…this is phenomenal,” Brennan said.

Carroll said one of the best things about working with his sons is their willingness to speak their minds, even if it’s to question his coaching.

“What’s great about it for me is they don’t pull any punches now. They tell me everything some other guys might not say,” Pete said. “You get them behind closed door and they’ll unload and let me know where [they’re] coming from and what they think, which is really important to me. Their loyalty runs so deep that they’re willing to say whatever needs to be said.”

But the Carroll kids don’t take anything for granted. Pete might have opened the door, but they both started at the bottom and are slowly working their way up the coaching ranks.

And Brennan, he doesn’t let the name put any added pressure on him either.

“I worked with so many great coaches coming up through the ranks I never felt that pressure,” Brennan said.

“At first you don’t realize it,” Nate added as he stood next to his big brother following a Seahawks practice at the VMAC earlier this year.

“And then as you start to go through it you start to realize that yeah, ‘I need to show up everyday and hold the standard,'” he said. “You can get a little relaxed with your father being the head coach at times but there’s a lot of great reminders around…it’s a great reminder everyday.”

As for who’s really in charge, Pete has no problem making clear who’s the boss.

“That part’s not hard,” Carroll laughed.

At least in the locker room and on the field. At home is another matter entirely. Nate and Brennan say he’s no longer coach, he’s just dad.

“Is mom the coach of the family?” I asked.

“Yeah, she runs the show, you can print that,” Brennan said.

“I’ll vouch for that being true,” Nate added with a laugh.

You can catch the entire Carroll coaching clan as the Seahawks take on the St. Louis Rams Sunday. Our exclusive coverage begins with the pregame show at 8 a.m. Kickoff at 10 a.m. on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and 710 ESPN Seattle.

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Coaching Seahawks is a family affair for Pete Carroll, sons