Arizona St. fires Erickson as coach

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 28, 2011
Arizona State has fired coach Dennis Erickson after a fourth straight season of failing to live up to expectations. Athletic director Lisa Love made the announcement on Monday after meeting with the 64-year-old coach. Erickson will be allowed to coach the Sun Devils in their bowl game, which will be determined on Sunday. ''We are grateful for the service Dennis and his staff provided for the past five years,'' Love said in a statement. ''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 will receive half of his $1.5 million salary for the remaining year on his contract. Arizona State became bowl-eligible for the first time in four years after starting 6-2, but lost its final four games to miss a shot at playing in Friday's Pac-12 championship game. He was 31-30 in five years at Arizona State. ''I am proud of what we accomplished in five years,'' Erickson said in a statement. The program is in good shape for the next coach.'' A two-time national champion at Miami, Erickson was the Pac-10 coach of the year in 2007 after leading Arizona State to the Holiday Bowl and its first 10-win season in nine years. After that, the Sun Devils never lived up to expectations, winning no more than six games the next four seasons. Love opted to stick with Erickson after the 2010 season, in which Arizona State won six games but wasn't bowl eligible because two of its wins were against Football Championship Subdivision schools. Arizona State entered this season with high expectations, returning nearly every starter while playing with a new intimidating pitchfork logo on its uniforms. The Sun Devils lived up to the hype early in the season, in control of the Pac-12 South at 6-2 after beating Colorado on Oct. 29. They faltered after that, though, losing their grip on the division after a loss to UCLA the next week, then were unable to make up ground even as the Bruins faltered. The biggest blows to Erickson's tenure were disappointing home losses to rival Arizona and California to close out the season. Erickson has coached at Idaho (twice), Miami, Washington State, Oregon State and Wyoming, along with two stints in the NFL in 23 years as a head coach. He ranks sixth among current college coaches with 179 victories and is a three-time Pac-10 coach of the year, also with Washington State in 1988 and Oregon State in 2000.
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