After graduating from Pacific University, Carroll began a job as a graduate assistant with the program, eventually working his way through single seasons at Arkansas, Iowa State, and Ohio State. After a three-year run at North Carolina State, he found himself back at his alma mater for a single season as the offensive coordinator before the NFL came calling.
In 1984, Carroll was hired by Kay Stephenson as defensive backs coach for the Bills. That put Carroll into the NFL at the ripe young age of 33. The Bills went 2-14 that season and gave up a franchise-record 454 points. (Another notable assistant, Monte Kiffin, was the team's linebackers coach.)
"Yeah, we were terrible," Carroll said last week when asked if he remembered anything about his time in Buffalo.
Carroll left on his own following the '84 season, moving to the Minnesota Vikings for five years as defensive backs coach. Even after losing out to Dennis Green in a bid to become the head coach at Stanford in 1998, Carroll's star was on the rise. Instead, Carroll took the job as the New York Jets defensive coordinator, and eventually was elevated to head coach for a single 6-10 season.
Following his first stint as an NFL head coach, he became the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers for two seasons before rejoining the AFC East as the New England Patriots head coach. He made the playoffs twice following Bill Parcells' departure, but was fired after going 7-9 in 1999.
After a year out of football, Carroll was hired by USC late in 2000, where he resurrected their program even though he wasn't their first, second, or even third choice. He led the Trojans to three national championships before jumping back into the NFL in 2010, at the age of 58.
Carroll has obviously been successful in his third NFL coaching stint, taking the Seahawks to the postseason in three of four seasons and winning this year's Super Bowl. His brash style has rubbed many - including Bills fans - the wrong way, but the results speak for themselves.