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The Pete Carroll connections: the defensive coaches

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks have now filled out their coaching staff, replacing Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable and Kris Richard with Brian Schottenheimer, Mike Solari and Ken Norton Jr, and while some fans love the hires, others hate them. In the comments to the article a couple of days ago on the reported hiring of Solari to take over as the offensive line coach, one commenter asked whether or not Pete exclusively hires coaches with whom he has worked in the past. Here is the specific question

Interestingly, this is something I had started looking into some time ago, and today we’ll go ahead and take a look at his connections on the defensive side of the ball. Not every single one of Pete’s hires can be traced back to having worked directly with Pete, but they can be traced back to either having worked with Pete or having worked directly with someone Pete trusts enough to have on staff. Without further fanfare, here we go.

Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.

I really hope I don’t have to explain much here. Norton returns to Seattle where he was Pete’s linebackers coach from 2010-2015. That was after having served in the same capacity for the USC Trojans for several years and after having played linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 and 1996 while Pete was the defensive coordinator.

Assistant Defensive Line Coach Dwaine Board

Another San Francisco connection, Board was the defensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 and 1996 while Carroll was the defensive coordinator.

(Former) Assistant Head Coach/Defense and Linebackers Coach Michael Barrow

Barrow was the linebackers coach and special teams coach for the University of Miami Hurricanes in 2013, where Pete’s son Brennan was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.

Defensive Backs Coach Andre Curtis

Curtis was the assistant secondary coach for the New Orleans Saints in 2012 when Seahawks senior defensive assistant Travis Jones was the assistant defensive line coach for the Saints.

Senior Defensive Assistant Travis Jones

Jones was the assistant defensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 under head coach Nick Saban when Kris Richard was traded to the Dolphins for Ronald Flemons. Neither Richard nor Flemons appeared in a game for their new team, being cut before making a single appearance.

Assistant Defensive Backs Ricky Manning Jr.

Manning was a cornerback for the 2009 Oakland Raiders, who were coached by former offensive line coach Tom Cable.

Secondary Coach Nick Sorenson

Sorenson was a safety for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005 and 2006, where Seattle quarterbacks coach Carl Smith was offensive coordinator for those two seasons.

Defensive Line Clint Hurtt

Hurtt was the assistant defensive line coach for the 2014 Chicago Bears, who were led by head coach Marc Trestman. Trestman and Carroll have decades old ties, as Trestman was the running backs coach for the 1985 and 1986 Minnesota Vikings while Pete was the defensive backs coach for those teams.

Assistant Linebackers Coach John Glenn

Glenn served as the quality control coach for the University of Washington Huskies in 2010 and 2011, and those Huskies squads were coached by Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian was one of the original members of Pete’s coaching staff at USC when Carroll took over the Trojans.

Quality Control/Defense Tom Donatell

This one gave me a lot of trouble because Donatell had a relatively short coaching career of just four years as an assistant at the college level prior to joining the Seahawks, and he doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page, which greatly helped tracked down several of the other connections. However, this is what comes up when you search for “Ed Donatell” directly on Wikipedia versus using a google search.

So, then I obviously checked out Ed Donatell to see if he and Pete had any connection, and suddenly things became far more clear. Ed Donatell was the defensive backs coach for the New York Jets from 1990 to 1994, during which time Pete was the defensive coordinator (1990-1993) and head coach (1994) of the Jets, and there it is.

So, those are the connections Carroll had with his defensive coaches prior to the coaches joining the staff. Tomorrow I’ll dig into the connections on the offensive side of the ball in order to see if the same single layer of separation exists on that side of the ball as well.