Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/23/11
LAS VEGAS -- Dennis Erickson didn't want to address the media following Arizona State's 56-24 loss to Boise State at Sam Boyd Stadium. After 42 years of coaching, he was tired of the questions, tired of the criticism, tired of the sea of voices dissecting his every move and word. In the wake of his firing, he probably deserved a pass. But he showed up just the same. And as he warmed to the occasion, we were reminded that what defines a man -- even a coach -- is never so simple as wins and losses. "It's very emotional," Erickson said of what might have been the final game of his career in Thursday's Las Vegas Bowl. "This thing came so darn fast when they fired us. It was like a month. You went from a contract extension to being sent down the highway." Forget the details of this game. Forget Arizona State's brief flirtation with momentum in the second half. Forget Boise State's dominance. It was a foregone conclusion the moment the Sun Devils' plane landed. They may have put on a brave face in pre-bowl practices. They may have talked of a fresh start. But like this city of grand facades and little substance, the Devils had nothing to back up the talk after a winless November robbed this season of meaning and cost the entire coaching staff their jobs. "It was difficult on them," Erickson said. The Sun Devils packed it in before this game was ever played -- kind of like the outgoing staff, which was kicked out of its offices and forced to turn in its keys on Monday by a new staff and an athletic department that apparently couldn't do the classy thing and wait a week for the bodies to cool. Are you ready for the Todd Graham era? It can't be worse than what we just witnessed, right? The Sun Devils (6-7) lost their final five games in 2011, eerily mimicking the fate that befell in-state rival Arizona last season. In his final four seasons at ASU, Erickson posted three losing seasons and one .500 season. This team is clearly in need of a fresh voice. Maybe Graham will resurrect this lifeless team. Maybe he'll bring discipline to a club that committed five more personal fouls on Thursday while he watched from the press box. Maybe he'll make Vontaze Burfict's decision a little easier by handing him his walking papers and wishing him luck in the NFL. Maybe Graham will stick around long enough to bring wins. But none of that seemed important as Erickson sat in front of reporters, offering final thoughts with his usual blend of candor, grace and humor. When asked his favorite part of coaching he smiled: "Oh, press conferences. There's no question I would be good at your job." And his second favorite part? "The players. That's what it's all about," he said. "The relationships you have with players and assistant coaches." Erickson wants to coach again and he wouldn't close the door on that possibility Thursday night. "I don't know if that's it for me, but you have to have opportunities," he said. "I'm going to stay in football. That's all I know. I won't become a math teacher. I'll promise you that." Just in case that next opportunity doesn't come, Erickson scripted a classy exit in spite of Thursday's final score. "I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had fun, I've had some bad days, but football is the greatest game in the world," he said. "I'm glad I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time in it."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Denis Istomin upsets Novak Djokovic at Australian Open

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Brad Marchand believes NHL players would accept gay teammate

Report: Falcons coaches told Shanahan is 49ers' new coach

Report: Members of Knicks want to part ways with Anthony

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bryce Harper prods Nationals over offseason activity

Blake Griffin to produce ‘White Man Can’t Jump’ remake

Report: Hawks and Pelicans talked Dwight Howard trade

Joel Embiid’s minute limit will be enforced for rest of season

Man U to bring on full-time counter-terrorism officer

Durant: Harden could have thrived as Thunder's sixth man

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Box Score 1/18: Trying to stay Melo in New York

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

Was Jack Capuano the right person to blame for Isles' woes?

Box Score 1/17: LeBron goes boom

Ten NBA players who need a change of scenery

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

QUIZ: Name every NCAA men's and women's basketball team with perfect regular seasons

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

QUIZ: Name the quarterbacks drafted in the 2003 NFL draft ahead of Tony Romo

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker