Dennis Erickson Fired: Arizona State Sends Coach Packing After Subpar Season

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterNovember 27, 2011

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Dennis Erickson of the Arizona State Sun Devils checks a video replay during the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on November 5, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 29-28.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Heads are starting to roll across the college football landscape, with Dennis Erickson being just the latest head coach to get the axe.

According to The Associated Press, Arizona State has given Erickson his walking papers after leading the Sun Devils to a 6-6 regular season.

ASU was expected to contend for the Pac-12 South crown and appeared to be well on its way to doing so after winning its first three conference games, including a 43-22 trouncing of USC in Tempe.

Instead, the Sun Devils were once again victimized by penalties, turnovers and a rash of mental mistakes as they dropped five of their final six games—including losses to UCLA, Washington State and Arizona—to miss out on a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game.

Erickson's tenure in The Desert began with much promise, as he led the players left over from the Dirk Koetter era to a 10-3 season, a share of the Pac-10 title and a victory in the Holiday Bowl.

ASU dipped to 5-7 the very next year and was never able to fully recover from its self-inflicted wounds on Erickson's watch. All told, Erickson will leave Tempe with a 31-30 record in five seasons. It's possible that athletic director Lisa Love will allow the 64-year-old coach to bow out gracefully via retirement rather than fire him outright.

If that is, indeed, the case, it will bring to an end a decorated, if not perplexing, coaching career. Erickson will be best remembered for leading the University of Miami to two national championships, Oregon State to a win in the Fiesta Bowl and the Seattle Seahawks in their near-escape to Los Angeles.

Erickson is the second head coach in the Pac-12 to lose his job this year, joining Arizona's Mike Stoops, who was fired mid-season. Those two are likely to be joined on the unemployment line by UCLA's Rick Neuheisel and potentially by Washington State's Paul Wulff and Oregon State's Mike Riley.

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