Utah Hires Dennis Erickson as Co-offensive Coordinator
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah has hired Dennis Erickson as co-offensive coordinator, saying he brings a "wealth of knowledge and coaching experience" that can help boost the team's offense.
Erickson will work with existing offensive coordinator Dennis Johnson, who was promoted to the position at age 24. He will officially start his new job Feb. 19.
"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," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement.
Whittingham added that Erickson's recruiting connections across the country could benefit the team as well.
In Johnson's first year, Utah was 11th in the Pac-12 in total offense and last in the conference in passing offense, averaging just 190.7 yards in the air per game. The Utes were eighth in the league in scoring offense, averaging 26.7 points per game.
With its anemic offense, Utah went 5-7 and 3-6 in its first two seasons in the Pac-12 and failed to reach a bowl game for the first time in nine seasons.
The 65-year-old Erickson won national championships in 1989 and 1991 at Miami. He has coached at three Pac-12 schools -- Washington State, Oregon State and most recently Arizona State.
Overall, Erickson has worked as head coach at six universities and is the only mentor to have won Pac-10 or Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors with three different schools. As a college head coach, Erickson compiled a 179-96-1 record in 23 seasons.
He also spent two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, where he went 9-23. He was at Arizona State from 2007-11 and the Sun Devils went 31-31 over that stretch.
"I want to thank Kyle Whittingham and the University of Utah for the opportunity to get back into college football," Erickson said.
"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," he added.
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