Seahawks’ Macdonald ‘not intimidated’ by following Carroll

Feb 17, 2024, 9:40 AM

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald...

Mike Macdonald as speaks to the media as he is named the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 1, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks saw their highest of highs during Pete Carroll’s 14 years as the team’s head coach. But a new era is underway as Mike Macdonald is now running the show.

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The 36-year-old Macdonald comes to Seattle after spending nine of the last 10 years in Baltimore, including the last two as defensive coordinator of one of the NFL’s best defenses. Macdonald is the youngest head coach in the NFL, which is interesting as he’s succeeding Carroll, who was the oldest head coach in the NFL last year at 72 years old.

Macdonald joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Monday and was asked specifically about taking over the Seahawks after Carroll’s terrific tenure.

“We’re talking to coach Mike Macdonald and I’ll admit, this is a little surreal,” Brock and Salk host Mike Salk said. “I mean, Brock (Huard) and I have been hosting the show for the better part of 15 years, and for 14 of them we sat across the table from one coach. You come into the building following that coach and the ghosts are everywhere and his influence upon this building is so strong. How do you respect that while still putting your own brand and stamp on things like the basketball hoop that’s out there (in the meeting room) or the music at training camp? How will you handle all of that stuff?”

Regarding the basketball hoop, Macdonald chuckled and said they haven’t decided whether or not it’s staying.

But overall, being the guy to follow Carroll is something Macdonald is taking very seriously.

“I’m not intimidated by that. It’s not something that I’m worried about,” he said. “It’s something that you want to embrace.”

During Macdonald’s introductory press conference, Macdonald told reporters that it’s hard to think of the Seahawks and not think about Carroll. He reiterated that to Brock and Salk.

“You have to have respect for what they’ve been able to do here in the last 15 years,” Macdonald said. “So I think you’re looking at building upon the foundation and not trying to reset it. I mean, that just makes sense to me.”

Macdonald said that at the end of the day, he and the Seahawks will stay true to their philosophy and what’s core to them.

“I think you stay true to who I am as a person and as a leader and as a coach, and that’ll start to like kind of manifest itself in terms of the personality of the team,” he said. “And I think we’re just going to go in with the mentality of, ‘Hey, let’s do what’s best for the Seahawks and the guys that we have and where we want to go.'”

“And the kind of remnants of Coach Carroll’s legacy here, I mean, yeah, absolutely, we’re not trying to shy away (from that),” he later said. “We want to be around that, we want to build around that. I’m excited to kind of work through that and see where it takes us.”

Learning from the Harbaughs

Carroll isn’t the only notable coach that Macdonald will be tied to.

Macdonald coached for nine years under Ravens head coach John Harbaugh over the last 10 seasons. And the one year Macdonald wasn’t in Baltimore? He was the defensive coordinator at Michigan under John’s brother Jim, who is now the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

“It’s a lot of who I am, Brock, it really is,” Macdonald told Huard when asked about his time coaching under those two. “I mean, that’s been my experience the last 10 years. I’ve really been shaped to those two organizations.”

One of Macdonald’s biggest takeaways from coaching for the Harbaugh brothers was that those two are “as real as it gets” and their players understand what they’re all about.

“The players realize that their motive is what’s best for the team and what’s best for the players. And they have their players’ backs and they’re ready to go to war with those guys,” Macdonald said. “I mean you talk about ultimate competitors. So I have the same mentality. I mean, it’s through the lens of what’s best for the team, what’s best for the players, and we’re going to build it that way rather than just being stubborn and (being about) what Mike Macdonald thinks all the time.”

Hear the full Brock and Salk conversation with Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald in the podcast at this link or either the video or audio player near the top of this post.

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