Utah Football: Utes hiring Dennis Erickson

Published: Monday, Feb. 11 2013 8:35 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Longtime college and professional football coach Dennis Erickson, who led Miami (Fla.) to national championships in 1989 and 1991, is joining Kyle Whittingham’s staff at the University of Utah as a co-offensive coordinator with Brian Johnson.

“Dennis Erickson brings a wealth of knowledge and coaching experience to our program,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in an official announcement Monday morning. “He has been labeled as one of the original architects of the spread and we are looking forward to the impact he will have on our offense. Coach Erickson also has recruiting connections across the country which should benefit us on that front as well.”

Erickson will begin his duties at Utah on Feb. 19, sharing coordinator duties with the 25-year-old Johnson. The Utes ranked 11th in the Pac-12 in total offense in Johnson’s first season as coordinator, averaging 324.4 yards per game. The pass offense was last with 190.7 yards.

In his final season as Arizona State’s head coach (2011), Erickson’s Sun Devils were fifth in the conference in total offense (445.8 ypg) and third in passing (316.7 ypg).

“I want to thank Kyle Whittingham and the University of Utah for the opportunity to get back into college football,” Erickson said in a released statement. “Being around football players and coaches has been my life and that’s why I’m coming out of retirement. I will do whatever I can to help the players and coaches at Utah be successful and I am excited to get back out on the football field.”

Erickson, who turns 66 on March 24, has extensive head coaching experience. He racked up a 179-96-1 collegiate record over stints at Idaho (1982-85, 2006), Wyoming (1986), Washington State (1987-88), Miami (1989-94), Oregon State (1999-2002) and Arizona State (2007-11).

In the NFL, Erickson was 40-56 with the Seattle Seahawks (1995-98) and San Francisco 49ers (2003-04).

Last fall, Erickson served as a volunteer assistant coach for his son Bryce at South Albany High School in Woodburn, Ore.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Erickson told The Seattle Times. “When you’ve been doing it for 40-some years, it’s kind of hard to turn it off.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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