‘Thank You, Pete’: Seahawks fans band together, crowdfund full-page ad in newspaper

Most of the headlines around the Seahawks are about finding a new coach, but hundreds of fans worked together to create a special ‘Thank You’ advertisement in The Seattle Times for former head coach Pete Carroll.

The teamwork required to make it happen would make him proud.

"Pete is the Seahawks to me; I grew up with that. He was the guy," said Isaac Lilly, the man behind the movement.

"Pete has been a part of my everyday life for 14 years," said donor Bryant Bartlett.

"Obviously, I’ve never met Pete; Pete’s never heard of me," said donor Thomas Congdon.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates their 43 to 8 win over the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Tom Penn

And still, the connection to him feels personal. Pete Carroll is the constant behind 14 years of powerful, joyful memories in Seattle.

Now that his era is over, fans want to say thank you to the winningest coach in Seahawks history.

It started with a post on Reddit.

Isaac Lilly had an idea to buy an advertisement in The Seattle Times, but he needed help.

"It feels like something someone would do, and I was like, ‘I haven’t seen it in The Times yet,’ so I just posted it there, not thinking anything of it," said Isaac. "Checked back during my lunch break, and there’s hundreds of comments saying, ‘I'll commit $12,’ ‘I'll commit $50,’ so I was like, ‘Okay, guess I should call The Seattle Times.’"

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Once Lilly found out that the price of a full-page ad was $7,000, he thought it was over.

"This is not realistic at all, but sure, I will post the GoFundMe, and I will forget about it and return the money to everybody when we inevitably fall short of the $7,000 because that’s a lot of money," said Isaac. "Fast-forward to that night, I check it at 7 or 8 o’clock, and it’s at 7K. Like, it took less than one day."

Isaac said that’s a testament to who Pete Carroll is. In a few days, 555 people from multiple countries donated. So, they opted for a $9,000 Sunday edition. They even had some left over to donate to charity.

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"I hadn’t even joined the military when Pete took over this team, and I’m out of the military now," said Bartlett. "I think Pete is the best coach in Seattle sports history; I don’t really think it’s that close. Brought us our first Super Bowl, almost brought us another one. And we’re known as a winning organization because of him. Even more than that, it’s just who Pete is as a person."

"With the rough spots in the last 14 years, there were weeks where that was the thing to look forward to, when there wasn’t a ton else going on for me. Seeing the Reddit community come together and everybody be able to celebrate the guy who’s been with us for 14 years, and for him, it’s been his life," said Congdon. "I want him to know that we appreciate how much effort he’s put in."

But how do you summarize all of that on one page? When asked what he wanted to be remembered for in his exit interview, Pete Carroll quoted The Natural.

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"Roy Hobbs," said Carroll. "Yeah, I wish what I’d like to be remembered like Roy Hobbs. ‘There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was.’"

"So I wrote in the ad: ‘There goes Pete Carroll, the best there ever was,’" said Isaac. "So hopefully, he feels that he accomplished his goal, that he’s recognized and acknowledged for his goal here, and we’re going to love that and cherish that forever."