One of the ironies of the Seahawks' recent hiring of USC football coach Pete Carroll is that Los Angeles' much-admired inner-city program, A Better LA, is now being run from Seattle. Carroll founded the nonprofit group in 2003 and turned it into a powerful social and political organization. It operates job development courses, counseling services and oversees "moonlight" basketball games where young men from South L.A., Watts and Compton - rival gang members included - compete in safe gyms.
Carroll apparently has no intention of giving up his far-away leadership role as ABLA chair. As the LA Times notes, "Carroll took the unusual step of affirming that he would remain 'committed to the community' - Los Angeles, that is - through A Better LA" when he announced his departure for Seattle. In three weeks, in fact, he returns for a fundraiser that stars Will Ferrell and Jack Black.
But the drawbacks to a long-distance chairmanship are obvious, says Jaime Regalado, one of Carroll's collaborators. "It can't be the same" he says with Carroll gone north. One solution say supporters is to bring new USC coach Lane Kiffin aboard. Once he produces 97 victories, seven bowl titles, and three Heisman winners, he'd be a natural.