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John Schneider sits alone with task of leading the Seahawks’ coaching search

Process begins Wednesday with first interview

By TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer
Published: January 16, 2024, 3:43pm

RENTON — For maybe the first time in his career as the Seattle Seahawks general manager, John Schneider was in the team auditorium, on the stage and without someone sitting right next to him.

For 14 seasons, it was always Schneider and Pete Carroll for every big event.

On Tuesday, it was just Schneider.

It’s his call now on every big decision the Seahawks make moving forward. And none is bigger than who will be replacing Carroll as Seattle’s head coach.

“I don’t feel like I haven’t been running the organization,” Schneider said. “I understand the question, but I don’t feel like there’s been necessarily just one person running the organization.”

That process of finding Carroll’s replacement starts Wednesday, when Schneider is expected to have the first of several virtual interviews. Many of the names already linked with Seattle as interview requests have been expected — Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, to name a few.

In some ways, it’s a full circle moment for Schneider. He was having discussions with the Seahawks and putting together a list of possible coaching candidates 14 years ago when the team jumped at the chance to hire Carroll, landing the coach before the GM. It wasn’t until after Carroll was locked up that the team brought in Schneider for an interview to find out if that partnership could work.

“To have worked with Pete and all the positive lessons and the leadership lessons and thoughts and philosophies, I can’t even begin to explain to you; pretty emotional press conference the other day,” Schneider said. “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.”

Seattle being in this position was the result of an underachieving season, Schneider said. The Seahawks believed they were ready to compete with San Francisco in the NFC West, only to give away a handful of games, finish 9-8 and miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Carroll said last week he had fought for the opportunity to stay on and see if he could engineer one more championship squad out of this group and perhaps put a different ending on a final chapter. Schneider declined to elaborate extensively on what the conversations with Carroll and owner/chair Jody Allen was like from his standpoint.

“I’m not going to get into the specifics of the conversations. Those are very confidential and very private,” Schneider 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.”

Schneider noted he will have full control over personnel and for the first time over the coaching staff moving forward, citing a contractual arrangement.

As for what he wants in a coach, Schneider was clear he’s looking for someone who can continue building on the culture of the organization moving forward while also bringing perspective that can keep Seattle from becoming stagnant.

He didn’t specify wanting an offensive- or defensive-minded coach and spoke glowingly about special teams coaches. He also didn’t rule out looking in the college ranks but noted the difficulty of doing that in mid-January.

“It’s just been amazing like the calls and the notes and everything you get,” Schneider said. “It’s really … I don’t want to say a confidence booster, but I think it’s a great reputation for this organization and like a really cool feeling throughout the National Football League of what people think of this organization on the outside. I think people recognize it’s a very intriguing job and one that you can come in, have a great partnership with everybody here and get rolling. I think people recognize that.”