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Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Updated: December 29, 9:51 AM ET
Carroll agrees to contract extension with USC

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Pete Carroll, who coached Southern California from mediocrity to dominance since being hired in 2001, agreed to a contract extension with the school.

Neither Carroll nor USC athletic director Mike Garrett would provide specifics of the deal.

"We love what Pete is doing here," Garrett said in a statement issued late Wednesday. "He does a great job of winning games and graduating players. Pete wants to be at USC as long as he can and we want him here, too."

The top-ranked Trojans are one win away from an unprecedented third straight national championship, an accomplishment they can achieve by beating No. 2 Texas in the Rose Bowl next Wednesday night.

USC enters the Rose Bowl with a 34-game winning streak, and has a 48-3 record the past four seasons after going 6-6 in Carroll's first year.

"We talked today -- we had a nice little talk today," the 54-year-old Carroll said of his conversation with Garrett. "We've been on a great wavelength. I haven't been anywhere five years before. I've been a mercenary coach my whole life.

"I've talked with Mike. We're in great shape for the future. This is a good time for this. There'll be a tremendous amount of movement in the NFL a week from now."

Carroll was an NFL coach from 1984-99, serving as an assistant with the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers. He was the head coach of the Jets for one season and the New England Patriots for three.

The Patriots fired Carroll after the 1999 season, and he took a year off before being hired by USC, where he clearly wasn't the first choice.

But he turned out to be the best choice.

It's been speculated on several occasions that Carroll would return to the NFL, but he's always said he wasn't interested.

"It looks like it should be very clear that where we sit right now is a terrific opportunity for me," he said. "This is an awesome place to be. I really don't see any alternatives that can match what we're doing here."

When the subject of money was brought up, Carroll replied: "That doesn't seem like an alternative. That seems like a benefit."

Carroll said he has all the freedom he could ask for at USC.

"I'm in great shape. I couldn't be more comfortable with how things are working," he said. "It's as good a situation as you can get. I think there's no question that it's fit beautifully -- it really has. I love being here. We're lucky. I love being in this whole energy level of sports. It's awesome."

Carroll refused to say how long he'll coach at USC.

"I've got to be able to sustain. I'm just going to keep rockin' and rollin' as long as we can go," he said. "They've supported what we've done here and given me the opportunity to be here for a long time. I've just got to maintain my health."

Carroll's first team at USC began 2-5 before winning four of its last five games. The 2002 team went 11-2; the 2003 team went 12-1, the 2004 team went 13-0, and the current team is 12-0.

Carroll succeeded Paul Hackett, who was fired after going 19-18 in three years on the job. Hackett replaced John Robinson, who was 37-21-2 in five years during his second tour of duty as the USC coach. The Trojans were 12-11 in Robinson's last two seasons.