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USC FOOTBALL REPORT

Carroll Says He Has No Interest in Coaching the 49ers

January 16, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Pete Carroll once considered it his potential dream job.

But on Wednesday, after the San Francisco 49ers fired Steve Mariucci, Carroll said he had no interest in leaving USC to coach the NFL team.

"I'm really happy staying here, and this is my place," Carroll said shortly before meeting with Athletic Director Mike Garrett. "I haven't heard anything at all [from the 49ers] and, really, I don't expect to."

Carroll, who guided the Trojans to an 11-2 record and Orange Bowl victory, has three years left on a five-year contract that pays him more than $1 million annually. Garrett declined to comment about the nature of Wednesday's meeting.

Carroll, a Northern California native, is regarded by some as a natural candidate for the 49er job because he served as the team's defensive coordinator in 1995 and 1996 between head coaching stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots.

"There was a time when I would have thought that would have been the best job in the world for me," Carroll said. "Until I realized how much fun I have here and how much I like being at the university."

Carroll also said the Jacksonville Jaguars had not spoken to him about their head coaching job.

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USC players begin their off-season conditioning program today with the first of many 6 a.m. weight-training sessions.

Carroll said the results of last year's conditioning program were borne out this season.

"We had a great year but we need to get better, stronger and faster," Carroll said. "We're setting the bar higher."

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