During his time on the USC coaching staff.
|Title||Defensive Passing Game Coordinator|
March 12, 1976 |
Los Angeles, California
|Mt. San Antonio CC
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|USC (Vol. Assist)
Seattle Seahawks (Passing Game Coordinator/Defense)
|Accomplishments and honors|
2 AP National College Football Champion (2003,2004)
1 Bowl Championship Series Championship (2004)
7 PAC-10 Conference Championships (2002-2008)
Seto was born in Los Angeles, California; he is Japanese-American Nisei, son of Issei parents. His father runs a gardening business and grew up going to USC football games; both father and son were fans of the Trojans. Seto attended Arcadia High School, where he played numerous positions; he described himself as an "average player".
Seto began his college playing career at Mount San Antonio College, a junior college in the Los Angeles area. He chose the college so he could play for head coach Bill Fisk, who was an All-American at USC. Seto was a fullback and defensive end during the 1995 and 1996 seasons, but mostly played on special teams.
In 1997, he transferred to the University of Southern California, hoping to walk-on to the football team. Although he was initially told he would be able to walk-on, he stopped getting mail from the program. Concerned, Seto staged an "accidental" meeting with head coach John Robinson who sorted out his situation, allowing him to walk-on. Seto was a reserve linebacker for the Trojans in 1997, seeing action on the scout team. In 1998, new head coach Paul Hackett awarded him an athletic scholarship, and he was later awarded USC's Black Shirt (scout team) Defensive Player of the Year Award for that season.
Seto received an Associate's degree in general studies from Mt. San Antonio Junior College in 1997, a Bachelor's degree in exercise science from USC in 1999, and a Master's degree in public administration from USC in 2001. Once he had gained his Bachelor's degree, Seto initially planned to attend graduate school at USC to become a physical therapist. Although he had already placed his deposit, he found out about the possibility of a volunteer assistant position with the football program and opted to enter coaching.
After playing for the Trojans, Seto joined the coaching staff in 1999 as a volunteer assistant under then-head coach Paul Hackett, working with the defense and special teams. In 2000 he served as an administrative graduate assistant, and with the arrival of head coach Pete Carroll in 2001, he became a graduate assistant involved in the defense, working with the general defense in 2001 and safeties in 2002. In 2003 he became a full coach, in charge of safeties, and from 2004-2005 he coached linebackers. From 2006, he has coached the USC secondary. In 2008, former college teammate Kris Richard joined the staff as a graduate assistant.
Seto has previously turned down a job to coach the secondary of the NFL's Buffalo Bills. When USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian departed to take the head coaching position at Washington in late 2008, he offered Seto the position of defensive coordinator. He opted to stay at USC and continue coaching the secondary, along with a raise and the additional title of assistant head coach for defense. On January 7, 2009, Carroll promoted Seto to USC Defensive Coordinator.
Seto was not retained when Lane Kiffin became the Head Football Coach at Southern Cal. He was replaced by Kiffin's father, Monte.
Seto married Sharla (née Chiang), who played soccer for USC and was on the Women of Troy's 1998 Pac-10 championship squad; she was originally from Seattle. They have two daughters (Kaylani & Mia) and a son (Troy). Seto is a devout Christian and considers his church community an important aspect of his life. He was featured in an episode of Trinity Broadcasting Network's "More Than Conquerors" magazine show, which profiles Christian sports figures and shares their testimony.
- Bruce Feldman, Seto settling in at USC, ESPN.com, May 21, 2007, Accessed February 10, 2009.
- Clay DeLeon, Coaches Corner: Coach Rocky Seto, SCPlaybook.com (Scout.com), April 10, 2008, Accessed December 16, 2008.
- Gary Klein, Rocky Seto will stay at USC, Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2008, Accessed December 16, 2008.
- Gary Klein, Pete Carroll promotes Rocky Seto to defensive coordinator, Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2009, Accessed January 8, 2009.
- Mike Sager, Big Balls Pete Carroll, Esquire, September 11, 2009, Accessed September 22, 2009.
- Ted Miller, Spring football Q&A: USC defensive coordinator Rocky Seto, ESPN.com, March 25, 2009, Accessed March 25, 2009.
- Rocky Seto: A Man of Faith, PeteCarroll.com, March 3, 2009, Accessed March 25, 2009.