Pete Carroll is leaving USC, and the coach the school considered its top choice to succeed him is no longer available.
Several Trojans players said Sunday night that they were informed by text message from staff that Carroll would become coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the deal will be signed this morning and Carroll will be introduced as the Seahawks coach Tuesday.
Meantime, Oregon State Coach Mike Riley, who had been targeted by USC as Carroll's possible successor, agreed to a three-year contract extension.
"Due to the fact there is a lot of speculation on my future, I want to make it known that I'm very excited to be coaching at Oregon State University and I anticipate doing so for a long time," Riley said in a statement released by Oregon State.
Carroll's return to an NFL sideline for the first time since 1999 has been regarded as a near foregone conclusion since Friday when it became clear that the Seahawks had targeted the 58-year-old coach to succeed the recently fired Jim Mora.
The Seahawks offered Carroll a five-year contract that would pay him nearly $33 million and give him control of the football operation.
There were a few obstacles along the way -- a dust-up over the Seahawks' apparent skirting of the league's Rooney Rule that requires the interview of minority candidates -- but Carroll met Sunday in Los Angeles with Seahawks officials to complete the deal.
"The mantra and what Coach Carroll lives by is all about competition, so you can't blame him for wanting to do that at football's highest level," middle linebacker Chris Galippo said. "That's what all of us want to do."
Quarterback Matt Barkley said he was watching television with teammates, who had gathered to discuss the team's situation, when he saw the screen flash with news that Carroll had resigned.
"I'm really blessed that I got a chance to play under him for a year," Barkley said.
Barkley said the assembled teammates "all figured Coach would be gone sooner or later," and that they talked of different scenarios that could be in their immediate future.
"It really shows you how much of a business this is, especially at a Division I college football," Barkley said. "Every player has to live with the fact that this can happen."
Carroll did not return messages, and USC and Seahawks officials remained mum.
USC players, who return to campus and begin spring semester classes today, had been anxiously awaiting news regarding Carroll, who guided the Trojans to a 97-19 record and seven Pacific 10 Conference championships in nine seasons.
"I like Coach Carroll and I'm going to miss him being our coach," senior cornerback Shareece Wright. "I'm confident we'll find somebody else. Whoever it is, we'll show him respect and play hard."
With Riley remaining in Corvallis, USC is expected to turn its attention to candidates such as Jacksonville Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio, who played at USC.
Steve Sarkisian, a longtime assistant under Carroll, just completed his first season at Washington and said last week he was in Seattle for the long haul. But he is not expected to be completely out of the picture now that Riley is out.
Carroll earned $4.4 million a year at USC, according to the most recent salary figures available. He is expected to earn $6.5 million annually with the Seahawks.
Having full control of an organization has always been a huge factor for Carroll, who didn't have that in his previous stints as an NFL head coach with the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
Farmer reported from Glendale, Ariz.
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Pete Carroll, who resigned as USC's coach Sunday to become the coach of the Seattle Seahawks, had one of the best tenures in Trojans history. A year-by-year look:
*--* YEAR REC. PAC 10 BOWL RESULT AP RK. 2001 6-6 5th lost to Utah in Las Vegas Bowl NR 2002 11-2 T1st beat Iowa in Orange Bowl 4 2003 12-1 1st beat Michigan in Rose Bowl 1 2004 13-0 1st beat Oklahoma in Orange Bowl (BCS 1 championship) 2005 12-1 1st lost to Texas in Rose Bowl (BCS 2 championship) 2006 11-2 T1st beat Michigan in Rose Bowl 4 2007 11-2 T1st beat Illinois in Rose Bowl 3 2008 12-1 1st beat Penn State in Rose Bowl 3 2009 9-4 T 5th beat Boston College in Emerald Bowl 22 *--*