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Originally published January 31, 2010 at 8:31 PM | Page modified January 31, 2010 at 9:02 PM

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Carroll convenes Seahawks' new staff

The Seahawks are beginning more than a new month. They are starting a new chapter in franchise history. Pete Carroll will convene Seattle's new coaching staff together Monday for its first official staff meeting.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Seahawks are beginning more than a new month. They are starting a new chapter in franchise history.

Pete Carroll will convene Seattle's new coaching staff together Monday for its first official staff meeting. So while the calendars may have been turned a month ago, it's Feb. 1 that really marks the start of the new year for Seattle.

Carroll has assembled a staff that includes one of the league's most respected rushing-game architects in Alex Gibbs and a passing-game whiz kid of an offensive coordinator in Jeremy Bates.

"I am really excited about it," Carroll said of his staff while in Alabama last week. "I think we had an outstanding 'staff' season ... it's a great group, and I feel very fortunate that we put it together like we have.

"It's an excellent group of guys."

Convening the coaching staff also signifies that the upheaval of January is over. It was as tumultuous a month as the Seahawks have ever experienced save for the time moving trucks headed for Southern California in 1996. It began when Seattle interviewed Carroll at a time the head-coaching position was still filled by Jim Mora, and after Carroll's hiring, it included wholesale turnover of Mora's coaching staff, most of whom were told of their exit with a message to clean out their offices on a Saturday.

Changes like this are never easy in the NFL, and this one was inescapably difficult given the abruptness and severity of the change in which Mora was fired after one season. Feelings were bruised along with careers.

That decision to fire Mora was announced on Friday, Jan. 8. Carroll was almost immediately identified as the likely replacement, but his hiring was not announced until Monday afternoon.

By that time, members of Mora's coaching staff were told not to come to the office Monday or Tuesday, the day Carroll was introduced. Most coaches found out their fate on Wednesday. Those assistants not under consideration to be retained were told to clean out their offices on Saturday. No face-to-face notification from the new coach. Just a pack-up date.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and defensive-line coach Dan Quinn were retained by Carroll. Offensive-line coach Mike Solari was interviewed, but with Gibbs coming aboard as offensive-line coach, that position was filled. Solari had a chance to stay on as tight-ends coach but declined. He subsequently accepted a position as 49ers offensive-line coach.

Strength-and-conditioning coach Mike Clark was at the end of his contract with the Seahawks. He interviewed with the Browns, and then waited through 10 days of limbo as Carroll looked at alternatives, interviewing USC strength-and-conditioning coach Chris Carlisle before ultimately deciding Clark wouldn't be back.

This is the raw underbelly of the coach's life where a franchise's decision on a coach's tenure has a trickle-down effect from offensive coordinators to quality-control coaches to administrators.

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It's part of the business, coaches say. More specific, it is the business end of the stick.

And after three weeks of upheaval, the Seahawks have a coaching staff in place that drew compliments from several NFL executives at the Senior Bowl, who wished to remain anonymous.

While Carroll hired four assistants from USC, Bates and special-teams coach Brian Schneider have NFL credentials. Schneider previously worked for the Raiders, and Mora interviewed him a year ago when the coach was assembling his Seahawks staff.

Secondary coach Jerry Gray from Washington is very well regarded within the league, someone Carroll expects to be a future head coach, and running-backs coach Sherman Smith served as Washington's offensive coordinator under Jim Zorn.

Seattle is expected to add Jeff Ulbrich as assistant special-teams coach, a move first reported by ESPN on Friday. He is a former 49ers linebacker, someone who played with a dirt-under-the-fingernails toughness. He is someone Mora wanted to look at hiring. Instead, he became one of the final pieces of Carroll's overhauled coaching staff.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

The new staff
The Seahawks have not formally announced Pete Carroll's coaching staff, so consider this an informal roll call:
Position Name Position Name
Off. coordinator Jeremy Bates Def. coordinator Gus Bradley
Offensive line Alex Gibbs Defensive line Dan Quinn
Off.-line assistant Art Valero Linebackers Ken Norton Jr.
Quarterbacks Jedd Fisch Secondary Jerry Gray
Wide receivers Kippy Brown Asst. secondary Kris Richard
Running backs Sherman Smith Special teams Brian Schneider
Tight ends Pat McPherson Asst. sp. teams Jeff Ulbrich
Strength and conditioning: Chris Carlisle
The old staff
Here's a look at status of the Seahawks position coaches last season under Jim Mora:
Mora assistant 2009 position 2010 position
Greg Knapp Off. coordinator Texans quarterbacks coach
Bill Lazor Quarterbacks U. of Virginia off. coordinator
Mike Solari Offensive line 49ers O-line coach
Robert Prince Wide receivers
Kasey Dunn Running backs
Mike DeBord Tight ends Interviewed with Chicago
Gus Bradley Defensive coordinator Retained
Dan Quinn Defensive line Retained
Mike Phair Asst. defensive line
Zerrick Rollins Linebackers
Tim Lewis Defensive backs Atlanta secondary coach
Larry Marmie Asst. secondary
Bruce DeHaven Special teams Bills special teams*
Mike Clark Strength and conditioning
*DeHaven's addition was reported by Buffalo TV station

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