The inevitable Fall of Troy

The Seattle Seahawks made the formal announcement on Monday, confirming the hire of Pete Carroll as their new head coach. Those words finally allowed supporters to loosen their grip and face the reality that an era had ended.

Southern California began the decade wandering in darkness. It limped into the 2000s with no real direction, appearing as an afterthought in a world it once owned. It was a program declined, and the most we could wish for was a replacement for Paul Hackett, and for victories over rivals.

Pete Carroll entered in 2001, surrounded with uncertainty, but accepted at a time when anyone but the former coach would be greeted with open arms. After seven games played, there were groans and second thoughts. 116 games later, he leaves with two national championships, seven Pac 10 titles, a mass production of Heisman winners and NFL prepped players, and numerous top-10 achievements.

On Sunday, he made his departure from a dynasty he built, walking away from one of college football’s most prestigious programs, honored as the best of the decade. The moments that followed his resignation delivered an instant realization that the Trojans had come full cycle, again wandering in darkness, and limping in silence.

Historically, all empires are conquered, and dignity is preserved in the courage to fight. But the fall of Troy is accompanied by embarrassment, destroying itself from within, while foes prepare to feast on the remnants of that which was great. We went from welcoming competitors and battling on their fields to sitting motionless without the will for battle at all. Rumors are spread of power struggles within the ranks that succeeded in tearing down the great walls. Cannibalism becomes the source of defeat. Troy slowly consumed itself.

The Pete Carroll era spanned nine long years without losses to Big 10 or SEC opponents, a period that combined for only two losses to rivals UCLA and Notre Dame. But it was also a nine year period of coaches outgoing and allegations incoming. For nine long years, the band proudly played conquest in celebration of victors.  Today brings the silence of mourning, and shadows cast upon the road ahead.

Carroll’s departure should not be disheartening, since there was never a guarantee of stay. Instead, it should be met with appreciation, for nine years of dedication to a program and its surrounding city. The emphasis is on rebuilding, a task inherited when he accepted the position, and one that will be passed to his successor. Troy wasn’t built in a day, nor was it designed by an outgoing coach. USC football was built over a century, rising and falling in accordance to changes in time.

Throughout its history, the leadership at Southern California has been rattled and its structure weakened.  But through all the adversity, it is a college football kingdom that refuses to die.  The quest continues in 2010.  A king will rise again.

Fight On


~ by Anthony on January 11, 2010.

One Response to “The inevitable Fall of Troy”

  1. […] Johnson retired and we celebrated a career that began on our diamonds. That’s followed by the resignation of Pete Carroll and evidence of an athletic department in […]

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