When I appeared on last week’s VOSD Radio with Andy Keatts and Scott Lewis, I made the case that our beloved hometown San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball team and my beloved hometown Seattle Seahawks have a lot in common. The Seahawks, as you may be aware, recently won a tackle football game that set off much catharsis and jubilation for our I-5 brethren city two states northward.
So with the caveat that there may be no literal, direct connection between the SDSU amateur hoops program and the Seattle NFL club, here are a few of the similarities — coincidental, metaphysical or otherwise — that can be drawn between the two.
1. Both teams are led by well-known head coaches in the latter stage of their careers.
Steve Fisher and Pete Carroll may be birds of a different feather, but they certainly have flown in comparable directions. Fisher, 68, came to Montezuma Mesa in 1999 after serving as an assistant with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, which followed a storied yet checkered career at the University of Michigan. As head coach in Ann Arbor from 1989-1997, Fisher coached the Wolverines to a national championship, then two subsequent title game appearances with the “Fab Five” freshman class led by Chris Webber. Fisher would later be fired in the midst of a scandal involving Webber and a wealthy booster.
Carroll, 62, arrived in the Pacific Northwest after a highly successful but turbulent run as head coach at the University of Southern California. His USC career came on the heels of head coaching stints with the NFL’s Jets and Patriots. After being fired by New England, from 2000-2010 Carroll led the Trojans to two national championships and a third appearance in college football’s title game. He would then leave the university for Seattle under a looming cloud of sanctions that resulted in one of USC’s titles being vacated and San Diego (Spring Valley) native Reggie Bush being stripped of the Heisman Trophy.
2. Both coaches took over programs that historically had not enjoyed much success.