Just five years ago, Dennis Erickson was hired as the new
head football coach at Arizona State University amid much
fanfare and praise.
And 1,813 days later, the tenure came to an end after a
disappointing and incredulous four-game losing streak that
derailed a once-promising season.
During Erickson’s tenure in Tempe, there was no
delivery of the optimism that both he and Vice President
of Athletics Lisa Love spoke about in front of the media
in December of 2006. ASU will potentially finish with the
fourth non-winning season in those five years.
But there is plenty of that feeling going on all around
the country, especially with coaching hires that happened
prior to the 2007 season.
There were 24 FBS coaches hired that season; only seven
remain with the teams that hired them. Seven. Troy
Calhoun at Air Force, Alabama’s Nick Saban, FIU’s Mario
Cristobal, Robb Akey of Idaho, Mark Dantonio of Michigan
State, N.C. State’s Tom O’Brien and David Bailiff at Rice
remain at the institutions that hired them prior to the
Some were fired for performance (or lack thereof);
Erickson, Army’s Stan Brock, former Indiana coach Bill
Lynch, Steve Kragtorpe of Louisville, Randy Shannon at
Miami, Todd Dodge at North Texas, Minnesota’s Tim
Brewster, Tulane’s Bob Toledo and UAB’s Neil Callahan fall
into that category.
Others were fired for strange reasons. Jeff Jagodzinski
of Boston College was fired despite a 20-8 record because
he interviewed for the New York Jets’ head coaching job
(he didn’t get it). Butch Davis was shown the door from
North Carolina amid an investigation of academic
misconduct and allegations of players getting benefits
from sports agents.
And still others moved on to bigger and better things;
Butch Jones bolted from Central Michigan to Cincinnati,
Brian Kelly left Cincinnati for Notre Dame, Gene Chizik
landed in Auburn after two disappointing years at Iowa
State, Derek Dooley got the Tennessee job after leaving
Louisiana Tech, Tulsa’s Todd Graham is now in Pittsburgh
and Jim Harbaugh left Stanford for the glitz and glamour
of the National Football League.
So regardless of who stands at a podium in the Carson
Center in the coming weeks talking about elevating ASU
football to the next level, just know there’s a very good
chance that man will be a memory in five years for one
reason or another.