Erickson’s tenure at ASU could be nearing end
Dennis Erickson led Arizona State to bowl eligibility for the
first time in four years with an impressive start to the
A monumental collapse by the Sun Devils may keep him from being
there to enjoy it with his team.
Erickson plans to meet with Athletic Director Lisa Love sometime
in the next few days to discuss his future with the program, and
most indications point to his five-year tenure in the desert coming
to an end.
”Everybody wants an answer to this and I don’t have one, I
really don’t,” Erickson said following Arizona State’s 47-39 loss
to California on Friday night. ”I’m not trying to be smart or
anything, but I don’t have an answer. I know that we will probably
meet early this week and talk about where the program is at and the
direction it needs to go, and if I’m involved in it –
Erickson won a national title with Miami in 1989 and had stops
at Oregon State and Idaho before arriving in Tempe in 2007. He had
an impressive start in the desert, leading the Sun Devils to a bowl
game and their first 10-win season in nine years.
After that, the program started to slide backward.
Arizona State won five games in 2008 and four in 2009. The Sun
Devils won six games last season, but weren’t bowl eligible because
two of their games were against Football Championship Subdivision
schools and the NCAA didn’t approve a waiver to get them into the
Love decided to stick with Erickson and Arizona State went into
this season with a new look and plenty of expectations, returning
nearly every starter on both sides of the ball.
The Sun Devils, playing with new uniforms and a new intimidating
logo, lived up to their billing early in the season, winning six of
their first eight games. Arizona State became bowl eligible with a
win over Colorado on Oct. 29 and was in control of the Pac-12 South
and had a spot in the inaugural conference title game, possibly the
Rose Bowl, in its sights.
Then everything fell apart.
The Sun Devils lost their grip on the South with a loss to UCLA
on Nov. 5 and blew another chance the next week, losing to
Washington State after the Bruins lost at Utah. Arizona State
followed that with a disheartening home loss to rival Arizona, a
team that had won two games previously and fired its coach.
Even after the loss to the Wildcats, the Sun Devils still had a
shot at winning the division, thanks to UCLA’s inability to close
That fell short, too.
Arizona State’s division title hopes ended when Colorado beat
Utah on Friday night and the Sun Devils followed with the loss to
Cal, their fourth straight to close out the regular season.
Even with Arizona State headed to a bowl, the limp to the finish
could end up costing Erickson, 31-30 in his five seasons in
”We love Coach E,” Arizona State defensive tackle Bo Moos
said. ”Obviously, the blame is ultimately going to be put on him,
but we don’t feel like it should be. If that ends up being the
case, then I’m just glad that this is my last year because I
wouldn’t want to play for anyone else.”
The Sun Devils played well on both sides of the ball early in
the season, with quarterback Brock Osweiler putting up big numbers
and the hard-hitting defense stifling nearly every team it
Defense let Arizona State down over the final stretch, played by
poor tackling and missed assignments. The Sun Devils allowed an
average of 37 points and nearly 500 yards per game during their
”In all the years that I’ve been in this business, I don’t
think I’ve ever had a slide like this, where all of a sudden we
just went (downhill) just like that, particularly on defense,”
Erickson said. ”I wish I could I put my finger on it.”