Former football coach Pete Carroll’s reach spanned much farther than just the football field.
During his time in Los Angeles, Carroll founded A Better LA — a community outreach program that works with inner-city groups to decrease violence. Despite announcing his resignation as USC’s head coach last week, Carroll intends to remain active in the community and will continue to be dedicated to the cause.
A Better LA currently targets the community of West Athens but serves the entire South Los Angeles area through its work with inner-city groups to stop violence in the community at large.
“We build happiness from within,” said Executive Director Brian Center, repeating the group’s slogan. “We take a community that’s been struggling, all the struggles that that community goes through, and take a complete approach to help that community.”
Though Carroll will be moving to Seattle, Center believes his devotion to Los Angeles’ at-risk youth will remain.
“He’s still going to be there for us,” Center said. “His involvement will be similar. At the very least, he’ll stay on our board and help us raise dollars, just like he’s always been.”
A Better LA depends heavily on its relationships with other inner-city outreach groups, who also agree that Carroll’s leaving will not have a negative impact on the foundation.
“[A Better LA]’s still going to have an impact on the community,” said Reynaldo Reaser, director of operations for Common Unity Reaching Everyone, one of A Better LA’s partners. “Regardless of where Pete is, he’s still going to be the man of A Better LA.”
C.U.R.E is also focused on preventing gang violence in the community of West Athens and has successfully created a brotherhood between rival gangs in one of Los Angeles’ most violent gang territories.
Reaser said despite Carroll’s resignation, his organization is fully committed to maintaining its partnership with A Better LA.
“We’re partnered — that’s a done deal,” said Reaser. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Currently, A Better LA is putting on a comedy show titled Make it Better with proceeds going directly to the organization. The show, taking place at the Nokia Theater on Feb. 20, will be headlined by Will Ferrell and includes performances by Demetri Martin, Tenacious D and more. Carroll’s name remains on top of the flier.
Though many people are upset at Carroll for leaving USC, Center says they shouldn’t be.
“If people could spend time with him, they would see how sincere he is,” Center said.