- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Black Monday continues with Arizona State firing Dennis Erickson.
On a day that the Pac-12 wanted it's first Pac-12 championship game to lead the news, two firings do instead, including UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, who will coach in said championship game against Oregon.
Still no final word on Paul Wulff's fate at Washington State.
Here's the official release from Arizona State (We will have more later):
Dennis Erickson will not return for a sixth season as head football coach at Arizona State University, as Vice President for University Athletics Lisa Love has announced that there will be a change in leadership atop the Sun Devil Football program. Erickson will coach the Sun Devils in their bowl game, which will be determined on Sunday, December 4.
"We are grateful for the service Dennis and his staff provided for the past five years," said ASU Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love. "Even during the most difficult times, he represented ASU with dignity. As he pursued success at the highest level within the Pac-12 conference, he improved the overall competitive health of the Sun Devils by attracting tremendous players to the university. With the confidence earned by his remarkable career, he never doubted the capability of ASU to compete for the Rose Bowl."
Erickson arrived in Tempe in 2007 and made an immediate impact, leading the Sun Devils to a share of the Pac-10 title, a 10-win season and a trip to the Holiday Bowl. The 2007 season marked the fourth time since joining the Pac-10 in 1978 that Arizona State had a double-digit win season. Erickson won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award that season, becoming the first man in history to win the award at three different schools. Erickson is one of only three people (USC's Pete Carroll and Washington's Don James) to win Pac-10 Coach of the Year three times. He went 31-30 at Arizona State, the fifth most wins by a head coach in school history.
During his tenure with the Sun Devils Arizona State gained a reputation as one of the fastest teams in the nation, consistently putting players on the field who could outrun their opponent. Under Erickson's watch, ASU improved its overall talent level and competitiveness, playing 14 games over the past three seasons that were decided by a touchdown or less. Erickson also brought Arizona State's recruiting into the national spotlight, signing several highly touted recruits and bringing players to Arizona from states like Florida and Ohio. During his time at ASU, the Sun Devils returned seven kickoffs for touchdowns, the most under any head coach in Arizona State history.
During his Hall of Fame career Erickson compiled 179 victories at the college level, sixth most among current college coaches. He began his head coaching career in 1982 at the University of Idaho. He spent four seasons with the Vandals, twice advancing to the NCAA Division 1-AA playoffs. He spent the 1986 season as the head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys, before taking over the Washington State Cougars in 1987. In 1988 he earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors, leading the Cougars to a 9-3 record and a victory over Houston in the Aloha Bowl. It was Washington State's first bowl victory since 1931.
Erickson rose to national prominence the next season, as he was named the head coach at the University of Miami. In his first campaign with the Hurricanes they went 11-1, beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and claimed the National Championship. He would earn his second National Championship ring soon thereafter, leading Miami to a share of the 1991 National Championship after a 12-0 season that included a shutout of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. All told, Erickson spent six seasons with the Hurricanes, going 63-9 and won three Big East Coach of the Year awards.
After four years as head coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, Erickson returned to the college ranks and engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history with the Oregon State Beavers. In his inaugural campaign with the Beavers in 1999, he led OSU to a 7-5 record, the school's first winning season since 1970. The next season Erickson put the Beavers on the map nationally, going 11-1, winning a share of the Pac-10 title and punctuating the season with a 41-9 defeat of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, Oregon State's first bowl victory since 1962. He won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award, the second one of his career. Erickson coached four seasons in Corvallis, leading the Beavers to three bowl games. Oregon State had played in six previous bowl games over 58 years prior to Erickson's arrival.
After two more seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, Erickson returned to the college ranks, this time returning to the place where his career began, Moscow, Idaho and the Idaho Vandals. After one season with the Vandals in 2006, the Pac-10 again came calling, as Erickson was hired by Arizona State University.
2dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill