ASU names Dennis Erickson head football coach

December 11, 2006

Dennis Erickson, a two-time national champion (1989 and 1991), a two-time winner of the Pac-10 Coach of the Year Award (1988 and 2000) and the Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 2000, has been named the 22nd football coach at Arizona State University, Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love announced Monday. Erickson's 148 wins ranks him 12th among active coaches." alt="" width="300" height="271" /> Download Full Image

Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love stands proudly with new ASU Head Football Coach Dennis Erickson at a Dec. 11 press conference.

Erickson has a pair of national championship and various coach of the year honors. His 148 wins ranks him 12th among active coaches. Take">">Take a closer look at the Erickson File.

Download">">... the full news release (PDF).

“Dennis Erickson has proven both on the national level and in the Pac-10 that he can compete and win against the best,” said Love. “When you start looking at his accomplishments, what stands out is his big-game experience. He has been to the top of the college football world with two national titles at a proven national power in south Florida, and then took a program that had not had a winning season in three decades on the other side of the country to a Bowl Championship Series win. He coached in one of the nation's best rivalry games when it was at its highest level. He has had great success against the nation's top-ranked teams and also handled the pressure of being No. 1. We are excited to work with Dennis Erickson.”

Coach Erickson, who is 148-65-1 (.694) in his 18 seasons as a collegiate head coach, is known in the Pac-10 as the architect of one of college football's biggest turnarounds when he coached at Oregon State from 1999-2002.

He led the Beavers, who had not had a winning season since 1970, to a 7-5 record in his first season and then grabbed the attention of the college football world with an 11-1 mark in 2000, which was punctuated by a 41-9 defeat of No. 10 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2001, its first bowl win since the 1962 Liberty Bowl. Oregon State ended the season ranked fourth in the final AP poll and led the Pac-10 in scoring offense (32.6 points per game), scoring defense (18.5 point per game) and total defense (314.4 yards per game). Coach Erickson earned Sporting News National Coach of the Year while the Pac-10 coaches gave him conference honors. In addition to the Fiesta Bowl win over the 10th-ranked Irish, he led the Beavers to wins over eighth-ranked USC (first win over Trojans since 1967), at No. 23 UCLA (OSU's first road win over a ranked team since 1970) and vs. No. 5 Oregon in 2000 as well as a win over eighth-ranked Washington in 2001 (first win over Huskies since 1985).

Beating the best

Since entering the head-coaching scene in 1982 at Idaho, he has shown the ability to beat the best, as Lou Holtz and Erickson are the only coaches in the past 20 seasons to win three games against the No. 1 ranked team in the Associated Press poll. He led unranked Washington State to a 34-30 win at top-ranked UCLA on Oct. 29, 1988, and then beat top-ranked Notre Dame 27-10 in his first year at Miami on Nov. 25, 1989, which stopped a 23-game win streak for the Fighting Irish. His Hurricanes then beat rival Florida State 17-16 on Nov. 16, 1991, in Tallahassee to end the Seminoles' 16-game win streak. Only three teams have won a road game at a top-ranked team since.

He has been in the national picture since moving from Pullman, Wash., to Florida in 1989 and taking over the Miami head coaching job after Jimmy Johnson left to coach the Dallas Cowboys. As the 18th head coach of Miami, the 41-year old Erickson became just the second Division I head coach to win a national title in his first season at a school, leading the Hurricanes to an 11-1 record and the school's third national title in seven seasons which was capped by a 33-25 win over seventh-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. That team, led by Cortez Kennedy, boasted the nation's top defense as it led the nation in fewest yards allowed per game (216.5) and points per game (9.3). The Hurricanes didn't allow a touchdown during a 10-quarter stretch in the regular season and held six opponents without a touchdown. It was the springboard that would lead to a 63-9 record (.875) while in South Florida , the best record by a Hurricane coach.

Two-time national champion

His 1990 squad went 10-2 and included a 46-3 win over third-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Miami finished third in the national polls behind a school-record 482.9 yards per game of total offense, with another school record set in passing yards per game (324.8). The defense allowed just 79.7 yards per game on the ground. That team also received mention as the national champion by the New York Times and the Jeff Sagarin Computer Ratings." alt="" width="300" height="251" />

A large media contingent was on hand for the official announcement of Erickson as ASU's new coach.

The second national title for Coach Erickson came in 1991 as Miami went 12-0 as it won the Associated Press vote and Washington was the Coaches' Poll winner. The Hurricanes shut out Nebraska 22-0 in the Orange Bowl to finish the season and allowed just 100 points all year, as no opponent scored more than 20 and only five opponents reached double-digit points.

Despite the national titles and the Oregon State turnaround, Erickson's finest coaching job might have been in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew ripped through South Florida, as several of Miami's coaches (including Erickson), staff and students were moved out of their homes to Vero Beach (200 miles away) to complete preseason drills. Top-ranked Miami , despite the adversity, won its first game, a 24-7 contest at Iowa , and went 11-0 during the year, defeating three Top-10 teams, including two on the road. It fell to second-ranked and undefeated Alabama 34-13 in the Sugar Bowl. Erickson earned Big East Coach of the Year while quarterback Gino Torretta earned the Heisman Trophy, just the second Hurricane to take home the honor, joining Vinny Testaverde in 1986.

The early years

His first trip through the Pac-10 was in 1987 when he took over the Washington State job. The Cougars had been 7-14-1 the previous two seasons and Erickson's first squad went 3-7-1. One year later, the 1988 Cougars finished 9-3, won at top-ranked UCLA, won their first bowl game since 1931 (defeating No. 14 Houston 24-22 in the Aloha Bowl) and were 16th in the final Associated Press poll, its first Top-25 finish since 1972 (tied for 17th) and highest since 1951 (tied for 14th). The six-win improvement was tied for the best in the nation. All those numbers and goals were enough to make the University of Miami come calling.

He got his start in coaching in the early 1980s at the University of Idaho, also where he coached in 2006. After being named head coach on Dec. 11, 1981, he took over a struggling program and one season later the Vandals were winning. He won more than 70 percent of his games in his four years and reached the Division I-AA playoffs twice.

In his first season, he led the Vandals to the Division I-AA playoffs where they beat Montana 21-7 but lost to Eastern Kentucky 38-30. He made a return trip in 1985 but lost to Eastern Washington 42-38. He moved onto to Wyoming and went 6-6 in 1986 as the Cowboys won games at Air Force and at Wisconsin before Washington State offered him its head coaching job.

He was as an assistant at San Jose State (1979-81), the offensive coordinator at Fresno State (1976-1978) and at Idaho (1974-1975), the offensive backfield coach at Montana State (1971-1973), Billings High School's head coach (1970) and a Montana State graduate assistant (1969) before earning the Idaho job prior to the 1982 season.

NFL experience

Twice Erickson tried the NFL after excellent college performances. He took over the Seattle Seahawks in 1995 and went 31-33 in four seasons, competing against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos twice a year.

In 2003 and 2004 he coached the San Francisco 49ers and went 9-23 in two seasons.

He graduated from Everett High School near Seattle (1965) and earned a bachelor's degree (1970) from Montana State where he was a two-time All-Big Sky quarterback. His family includes his wife, Marilyn, and sons Bryce and Ryan.

The Dennis Erickson file

December 11, 2006

Born: March 24, 1947, in Everett, Wash.
Family: Wife, Marilyn, and sons Bryce and Ryan

High School: Graduate of Everett High School in 1965
College: Bachelor’s Degree in physical education from Montana State in 1970 Download Full Image

Three-year letterman (1966-68) at Montana State
Two-time All-Big Sky selection at quarterback


  • Won his first 32 home games at Miami from Sept. 3, 1989 until falling to Washington on Sept. 24, 1994. Those 32 wins remain part of the longest home winning streak in college football history, as Miami won 58 straight from 1985 to 1994. Coach Erickson and his staff defeated seven ranked teams during the streak, including victories over No. 1 Notre Dame (Nov. 25, 1989), No. 2 Florida State (Oct. 6, 1990) and No. 3 Florida State (Oct. 3, 1992).
  •" alt="" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="300" height="205" align="right" />Coach Erickson’s team have finished in the Associated Press Top 25 at the end of the year six times, with Miami earning the No. 1 ranking in 1989 and 1991 and also finishing third in 1990 and 1992. The Hurricanes were No. 15 in 1993 while Oregon State climbed all the way to fourth in 2001.
  • Has been the head coach twice in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match up. His second ranked Hurricane squad won at top ranked Florida State, 17-16, on Nov. 16, 1991, while second-ranked Alabama topped his top-ranked Hurricanes on Jan. 1, 1993, in the Sugar Bowl.
  • He is one of just two coaches to win Pac-10 Coach of the Year at two schools, as he shared the honor at Washington State with Larry Smith of USC in 1988 and then won it outright in 2000 while at Oregon State. ASU’s Bruce Snyder, the 1996 winner, also won the honor in 1990 while he was at California. Coach Erickson also has been named Coach of the Year in the Big Sky and the Big East.
  • He has posted more victories over the No. 1 ranked team (three) than eight Pac-10 schools. Arizona has done it twice, while ASU, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State all have done it once. Cal and Oregon have never done it, while USC has done it seven times and UCLA three.
  • Of his 18 teams, 14 have competed in postseason play and he has five bowl victories.

2006 Head Coach, University of Idaho
2003-05 Head Coach, San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
1999-02 Head Coach, Oregon State University
1995-98 Head Coach, Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
1989-94 Head Coach, University of Miami (Fla.)
1987-88 Head Coach, Washington State University
1986 Head Coach, University of Wyoming
1982-85 Head Coach, University of Idaho
1979-81 Assistant Coach, San Jose State University
1976-78 Assistant Coach, Fresno State University (offensive coordinator)
1974-75 Assistant Coach, University of Idaho (offensive coordinator)
1971-73 Assistant Coach, Montana State University (offensive backfield coach)
1970 Head Coach, Billings (Mont.) High School
1969 Graduate Assistant Coach, Montana State University

2000 The Sporting News National Coach of the Year
1998 and 2000 Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year
Two-time National Champion at Miami (1989 and 1991)
Three wins over the nation’s top-ranked team in the past 20 years
Inducted into the University of Miami Hall of Fame

Year School Overall Pct. Conf. Notes
1982 Idaho 9-4-0 .692 5-2-0 Wins first-round playoff game
1983 Idaho 8-3-0 .727 4-3-0
1984 Idaho 6-5-0 .545 4-3-0
1985 Idaho 9-3-0 .750 6-1-0 Advances to playoffs
1986 Wyoming 6-6-0 .500 4-4-0
1987 Washington State 3-7-1 .318 1-5-1 One year later, 6-win upgrade is best in nation
1988 Washington State 9-3-0 .750 5-3-0 Victory at #1 UCLA; first bowl win since 1931
1989 Miami (Fla.) 11-1-0 .917 -- National Champions
1990 Miami (Fla.) 10-2-0 .833 -- Defeats Texas, 46-3, in Cotton Bowl
1991 Miami (Fla.) 12-0-0 1.000 2-0-0 National Champions
1992 Miami (Fla.) 11-1-0 .917 4-0-0 Wins first 11 games of season
1993 Miami (Fla.) 9-3-0 .750 6-1-0 Held 6 teams to less than 10 points
1994 Miami (Fla.) 10-2-0 .833 7-0-0 Four wins over Top 25 teams
1999 Oregon State 7-5-0 .583 4-4-0 First winning record since 1970
2000 Oregon State 11-1-0 .917 7-1-0 Pac-10 Co-Champions; finishes ranked fourth
2001 Oregon State 5-6-0 .455 3-5-0 Defeats #8 Washington, 49-24
2002 Oregon State 8-5-0 .615 4-4-0 6-1 home record
2006 Idaho 4-8-0 .333 3-5-0
Totals - 18 Seasons 148-65-1 .694

Idaho (6 yrs) 36-23-0 .610
Wyoming (1 yr) 6-6-0 .500
Washington State (2 yrs) 12-10-1 .543
Miami (6 yrs) 63-9-0 .875
Oregon State (4 yrs) 31-17-0 .646
Career Totals (18 yrs) 148-65-1 .694

November 16, 1991 - at Tallahassee, Fla.
#2 Miami defeated #1 Florida State, 17-16
- Only three teams have beaten No. 1 on the road since this game
November 25, 1989 - at Miami, Fla.
#7 Miami defeated #1 Notre Dame, 27-10
- Victory ended the Irish’s 23-game winning streak
October 29, 1988 - at Los Angeles, Calif.
Washington State defeated #1 UCLA, 34-30
- Only three unranked teams have won road games over No. 1 since this game

November 16, 1991 - at Tallahassee, Fla.
#2 Miami defeated #1 Florida State, 17-16
- Ended the Seminoles’ 16-game winning streak
October 6, 1990 - at Miami, Fla.
Miami defeated #2 Florida State, 31-22
- Ended the Seminoles’ 14-game winning streak
November 25, 1989 - at Miami, Fla.
#7 Miami defeated #1 Notre Dame, 27-10
- Ended the Irish’s 23-game winning streak

“Coach Erickson is a true players’ coach. You love playing for him because he relates to his players well. He is an energetic and fun guy to be around. As a player, you appreciate him as a coach.”
~ Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
Three-time All-American at the University of Miami and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year

“I don’t just like Coach Erickson; I love him. The most important step in me getting to where I am now was probably him taking a chance on me at Oregon State. Most coaches won’t take that kind of chance on a guy with just one year of eligibility. He had faith in me, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
~ Chad Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
Former Oregon State player, selected to First Team AP All-Pro and three Pro Bowl teams

“Dennis Erickson is a great coach and he also has a great deal of experience. He is a good person. What I saw from him is he is a players’ coach with a personality and attitude that meshed well with his players. He is able to get the most out of his team.”
~ Jeff Garcia, Philadelphia Eagles
Played under Erickson with the San Francisco 49ers and is a three-time Pro Bowl player

“Coach Erickson is the type of guy who strives for excellence. He expects a lot out of his players, but at the same time, he treats them like student-athletes and understands they’re going to make mistakes. He’s a guy who’s big on second chances.”
~ Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Two-time All-Pac-10 Conference player at Oregon State and two-time Pac-10 rushing leader

“Out of all the coaches I have had, he is the only one that knows how to really relate to his players. He knows how to let players have fun, but yet have discipline. If you ever have any problems with school, football, family or whatever your problem is, you can go to Coach Erickson for help. When you go to his office, it is comfortable; you don’t feel like an outsider. You feel like one of the family.”
~ Nick Barnett, Green Bay Packers
Former Oregon State player, All-Pac-10 Conference selection and NFL Draft first round selection

“Coach Erickson is smart. He’s an innovator. Offensively, he’ll just cut you up.”
~ T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati Bengals
Former Oregon State player