RENTON, Wash. — With Pete Carroll out, general manager John Schneider’s new role with the Seattle Seahawks will include control over personnel and oversight of the coaching staff.
But as Schneider leads the first head-coaching search of his 14-year tenure with the Seahawks, team owner Jody Allen has given him one directive.
“It’s clear. It’s concise. We want to keep our positive culture, everything that’s been created here,” Schneider said. “There’s so many special people in this building. It’s amazing to be on the phone with all these agents and the people that are interested in this position and to be able to explain to them, ‘Hey, there’s a foundation here that’s incredible.'”
Schneider spoke with reporters on Tuesday for the first time since Allen announced Wednesday she was moving Carroll into an advisory role with the organization. Schneider confirmed what Carroll had alluded to in his farewell news conference — that the GM will have final say over personnel matters regardless of which coach is hired to replace him. That’s a change from the previous power structure in which Carroll had final say and reported directly to ownership.
“Our setup earlier was … the coaching staff did not fall under my umbrella, and now it will,” said Schneider, who is signed through the 2027 draft after his contract was extended in January 2021. “It’s not necessarily a Jody Allen decision or choosing this person or that person; it’s just a contractual situation.”
With administrative tasks taken care of, the search for Carroll’s replacement began in earnest this week. The list of reported interview requests included eight names as of Tuesday afternoon.
Two of them, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, are Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. Carolina Panthers D-coordinator Ejiro Evero is set to interview with Seattle on Wednesday, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The Seahawks also have requested interviews with Dallas Cowboys D-coordinator Dan Quinn, a source told ESPN’s Todd Archer, and Houston Texans O-coordinator Bobby Slowik, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. In addition, the team has requested interviews with Las Vegas Raiders D-coordinator Patrick Graham, Detroit Lions O-coordinator Ben Johnson and Miami Dolphins O-coordinator Frank Smith, according to the NFL Network.
Because each of the eight candidates are under contract with another NFL team, those interviews can only be conducted virtually this week, with in-person interviews allowed beginning Monday, provided the candidate’s team is not preparing for a conference championship game.
Schneider said there isn’t such a thing as having too many candidates and that the turn-over-every-stone approach the Seahawks have used with free agency and the draft will apply to their coaching search, as well. They have yet to decide whether they’ll consider any college coaches.
“It’s wide open still,” he said. “There’s so much movement in college football already.”
Schneider said he has had to be ready for several years to hire a head coach, knowing the 72-year-old Carroll could walk away at any time. While Schneider is leading the search for Carroll’s replacement, he said Allen — who assumed control of the team when her brother, Paul Allen, died in 2018 — will have “a lot” of say over the hire.
Schneider said there’s no more clarity as to what Carroll’s advisory role will entail. His ouster as head coach came on the heels of a 9-8 finish in which the Seahawks missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. In Schneider’s words, the Seahawks “underachieved” in 2023 after they had “overachieved” the season before, when they also went 9-8 but made the playoffs as a wild-card team after trading quarterback Russell Wilson.
Carroll made it clear that he argued with Allen to keep his job. Asked about his conversations with Allen over Carroll’s status, Schneider declined to discuss specifics.
“Those are very confidential and very private,” he said. “I would say that Pete knew how I felt about things and where we needed to improve, and Jody knew my opinions, as well.”
Hired together in 2010, Carroll and Schneider guided the Seahawks through the most successful stretch in franchise history, which included 10 playoff appearances, the organization’s lone Super Bowl championship and a second Super Bowl appearance.
During his opening statement on Tuesday, Schneider became emotional while talking about teaming with Carroll the past 14 years.
“Very, very blessed to have worked with Pete and all the positive lessons and the leadership lessons and thoughts and philosophies,” Schneider said. “Pretty emotional press conference the other day. When I say your emotions are all over the place, it’s moving on from a very, very historic partnership and amazing, amazing level of success and achievement that Pete and myself are extremely proud of.
“I look forward to being able to call Pete and text him. He’s already texting me like crazy all the time, like, ‘Hey, Johnny, what’s going on with this and that?'”
Schneider then paused to gather himself.
“Yeah, it’s been a great experience,” he said. “So, here we go.”