Lots of football coaching news this morning:
• The Boston Globe breaks the news - not exactly unexpected - that Bill Belichick will end his 24-year tenure as the New England Patriots head coach. The official announcement is slated to be made later today.
The Globe writes that "such an ending seemed unfathomable through the first two decades of Belichick’s time in New England. He and quarterback Tom Brady teamed up to win six Super Bowls and made nine appearances in the championship game. The duo remained constants over the course of a 19-year dynasty, setting the foundation for 'The Patriot Way.' Opponents largely regarded Brady as the greatest quarterback and Belichick as the greatest coach of all time.
"But the team’s performance took a downward turn in Belichick’s final four years as head coach. Following Brady’s departure in March 2020, the Patriots have registered a losing 29-38 record and missed the playoffs in three of four seasons."
The Globe writes that "the Patriots will now begin a search for their 15th coach in franchise history, while the 71-year-old Belichick will ponder his next move."
• Nick Saban announced that he is retiring as the University of Alabama head coach, ending a 17-year tenure there that brought the school six national championships.
The Athletic writes that "his final championship in 2020 gave Saban seven national titles — he won one previously at LSU — and boosted him past another Alabama great, Bear Bryant, as the coach with the most championships, stamping a legacy defined by reaching the sport’s highest pinnacles.
"Saban, 72, leaves his post with 292 career wins, fifth all time and the most among any active coach. He won 12 conference championships, more than 80 percent of his games and earned 17 total coach of the year honors nationally and in conference.
"He led the Crimson Tide to winning seasons every year since 2008 and delivered something to Alabama that no other coach before him did: the Heisman Trophy, with four winners during his run, most recently Bryce Young in 2021."
The Athletic reports that "Saban called the university 'a very special place' to him and his wife in a school-issued statement, adding that his legacy and the team’s process of sustained success is what was most important to him, not the number of wins or losses. 'The goal was always to help players create more value for their future, be the best player they could be and be more successful in life because they were part of the program,' he said. 'Hopefully, we have done that, and we will always consider Alabama our home'."
• And Pete Carroll is out as the Seattle Seahawks head coach after 17 years in the job.
The Seattle Times writes that Carroll "established an inimitable football culture in Seattle and produced unprecedented results … He tallied 11 winning seasons with the Seahawks."
And, the Times writes: "It’s probably far-fetched to think that the next Seahawks coach will replicate the success Pete Carroll had here. It might even be fanciful to think that any of the next five (10?) Seahawks coaches can do it, either.
"Nobody in franchise history was able to match the regular-season or postseason win count he had, and his 14 years in Seattle might just land him in the Hall of Fame.
"All of that is true. And all of that should be appreciated by fans of this football team. But none of that means that the Seahawks brass should have stuck with Carroll for a 15th year. The time had come to move on."
Carroll's Seahawks went 9-8 in each of the last two seasons, and yesterday he said, "We lost our edge, really, the edge to be great, running the football and playing defense."
The Times writes, "What likely helped bring Carroll’s seat to a boil was that the Seahawks have struggled so much on defense during these middling seasons. It was that side of the ball — Pete’s specialty — that vaulted them to a Super Bowl win in 2014 and trip back the following season. But when it comes to total defense over the past four years? They have finished 21st (2020), 28th (2021), 26th (2022) and 30th (2023)."
- KC's View:
Three very different coaches, with very different approaches to leadership. But they all had extraordinarily long tenures in jobs that are designed to be temporary, and in each case, the communities their teams represented should be grateful for persistent and consistent excellence.