Seahawks CEO Tim Leiweke addressed reporters this afternoon on the recent firing of Jim Mora and today’s announcement that Pete Carroll has been hired as the team’s new head coach.
It was a surreal set up, with reporters asking questions directed at Leiweke in a conference room while on the flat screen TV across from him Carroll, the guy he hired, was formally announcing his resignation at the University of Southern California.
“There’s Pete now,” said Leiweke during an early portion of the interview, as everyone took a break to see what Carroll was saying on the screen.
Leiweke talked about the decision to fire Jim Mora, and whether or not it was linked to the team having an opportunity to hire Carroll.
“We won nine games in the last two years, and with all due respect four of those were to the St. Louis Rams, and that’s not acceptable,” Leiweke said. “It’s not acceptable to our fans. It’s not acceptable to Mr. Allen. And it certainly isn’t acceptable to me.”
“And some have said this isn’t fair. I’m not going to debate that point. But the status quo was simply not an option.”
Listen to a snippet of the interview here.
[wpaudio url="http://blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks/files/2010/01/Leiweke1.mp3" text=MP3: Leiweke]
And on the decision to pursue and ultimately hire Carroll, Leiweke had this to say:
“He was interesting to us because he was in the NFL. And it’s clear to me that this man has a chip on his shoulder to prove that he can win at the NFL level. He had a .500 record, but he’s been paying for that. But you know this is a guy that then went on and did things in football that no man has ever done. And after the last two seasons, those are things that really resonated with us.”
Leiweke also talked about the management structure, saying that Carroll will serve as head coach/VP of football operations, John Idzik will remain on as VP of Administration, handling contract negotiations and whoever the team hires as general manager will fill that management rung. Leiweke said those three will work arm and arm in a collaborative effort in running the team, with Leiweke overseeing all three and handling any and all disputes.
Leiweke admitted that the relationship between Mike Holmgren and Tim Ruskell in the past was less-than-ideal, and that this new structure focuses each person to stay focused on their individual tasks.
Carroll will sit in on the general manager interviews that take place this week, but Leiweke and owner Paul Allen have final say. He also was given the numbers of each candidate so that he could talk to them before they come in for interviews.
Leiweke did not name the folks coming in for interview, but said the reports on the four candidates who have been named are somewhat accurate, and that the team might cast a wider net if they feel like there’s other candidates they want to bring in.
Ruston Webster also remains a candidate, although if he does not win the job, he likely will be retained in his current position as vice president of personnel.
Leiweke also said he encouraged Carroll to take a look at some of the assistant coaches left over from Mora’s staff in order to create some continuity, but ultimately Carroll has final say on who he hires as assistants.
On who made the final call on letting Mora go, Leiweke said that was on him, and not owner Paul Allen, although Allen does have final say.
Leiweke said there’s no timetable on when the team will hire a new general manager, but he would like it to be sooner rather than later.