Carroll coached under Earle Bruce in 1979 and helped the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth. Ironically, a top-ranked 10-0 Ohio State team played No. 3 USC in the “Grand Daddy” and dropped a tight 17-16 decision.  

Q. What do you remember from your days at Ohio State, that one year?
I remember a lot. It was an extraordinary experience. We had come from Iowa State with Coach Bruce. He got the job after Coach Woody Hayes took off. We went in there with really high hopes and expectations, and felt like we had kind of an insider’s view because Bruce had been there, coached with Woody for so long, played there and all that. He really conveyed to us that he had a sense for what it took to win at Ohio State. He was on it.

We had a great year. We won every game against a lot of great players that played in the NFL for years. We had good matchups in the conference. It was a really historic year. We won big, a lot. Great offensive players, defensive players. He just orchestrated it beautifully. Save the last four minutes of the last game, you know, when Charlie White goes to town and kicks butt, they win the Rose Bowl. We were all but perfect. It was really an extraordinary year.

The history of that program is obvious. The great heritage that they have that lives through those players and those famous names that we grew up watching and stuff, those guys still love their program, just like USC, they hold very dear to their heart. There’s a lot of similarities in it. The great historic matchups that you have, you know, the great stadiums and things. There’s a lot of similarities. I love being part of it, again, because I saw it for the first time at Ohio State.

One of my favorite memories is I’m sitting up in I think it’s St. John’s (St. John) Arena, the old basketball place. I was looking out the window. I saw Coach Hayes walking down the sidewalk across the parking lot. I’d never seen him before, you know. So I just dropped everything and took off, ran across the parking lot and met him about halfway down. He was walking home from teaching a class, I think. And I introduced myself. We walked for about 10 minutes. And he knew who I was. I was all thrilled. You know, he even knew that I was one of the new coaches. We talked football. That was my one chance I had to visit with him.

To me that was a really special moment, you know, with a guy that was a great impact to our football college game and to everything that stands for football, all that.

But there was a lot of memories that year and a lot of cool stuff that happened. A lot of great names and people we dealt with…that was really fun.

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Transcript of Carroll’s press conference Tuesday available at

Read Pete Carroll’s biography in the 1979 Ohio State Football Media Guide …