Is it better to have college coaching experience or NFL coaching experience to be a successful NFL head coach? (Blog #66)

Pete Carroll as head coach of the USC Trojans.
(Image courtesy of

Why an NFL question on a college football site? Well, its Super Bowl week, but there is also a very clear contrast between Pete Carroll’s experience vs. Bill Belichick. One coached in college, one did not.

Pete Carroll started coaching in 1973 as a general assistant for Pacific. He has worked as an assistant college coach for Arkansas, Iowa State, Ohio State, North Carolina State, and Pacific. Then in 1984 he left the college ranks to coach as an assistant in the NFL for various teams: Buffalo Bills; Minnesota Vikings; New York Jets; and San Francisco 49ers.In 1997 he was hired as head coach for the New England Patriots and coached there until 1999. The Patriots let him go, but then in 2000 he was hired as coach for USC, which he coached until 2009. Seattle hired him as a head coach in 2010. Last year he won the Super Bowl, and in 2004 he won the College Football National Championship.

Bill Belichick started his coaching career in 1975 as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts. He then held various assistant coaching positions with the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants. He was Cleveland’s head coach from 1991 to 1995. After that he was an assistant for New England Patriots and the New York Jets. In 2000 he was hired as the head coach for the New England Patriots, where he has won three Super Bowls.

So who has the advantage: the career NFL coach or the NFL/college coach? Who knows, but we are guessing Belichick has a slight edge, not only because he is a career NFL coach, but also because he has many more years as an NFL head coach then Pete Carroll. What do you think? Please comment via the button below.

We actually think this is a minor advantage, many more factors being much more important.

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