Erickson era ends with 56-24 bowl loss

Dec 23, 2011, 5:29 AM | Updated: 5:44 am

LAS VEGAS, NV — The point spread said it wouldn’t be close, and it
wasn’t.

Boise State’s Doug Martin returned the opening kickoff of the game 100
yards for a touchdown, and the 6th-ranked Broncos never looked back,
pounding the Arizona State Sun Devils 56-24 in the 20th edition of the
Maaco Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The loss ends Dennis Erickson’s 5-year tenure as Arizona State’s head
coach, a tenure that saw the Sun Devils go 31-31 with him at the helm.

Erickson was fired following ASU’s regular season-ending loss to Cal at
Sun Devil Stadium.

The veteran head coach held his final press conference after the loss,
and was his usual affable self, joking with media and not shying away
from any questions, including those about the challenge in preparing his
team for their first bowl game in four seasons amid change in the
football program.

“It’s difficult when you put a lot of your life into something like this,
which I have for forty-some years, and to see at least the end of it at
Arizona State obviously,” Erickson said.

“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’ve had the
opportunity to spend some time in it and be around the players.”

Several players, including senior receiver Gerell Robinson, sought out
Erickson as he made his way from the sidelines, offering him an
embrace.

Robinson and quarterback Brock Osweiler both entered their post-game
press conferences with tears in their eyes after an emotional team
meeting with Erickson.

“Coach Erickson is a phenomenal man,” Robinson said. “He’s been
around the game a long time and for him to go out in potentially his last
game like this, it’s kind of sad. He’s had one hell of a career as a coach.”

Erickson didn’t say this was the end of his career by any means. “I’m
going to stay in football. That’s all I know,” he said. “I won’t become a
math teacher. I’ll promise you that.”

But the coach also acknowledged that his career continuing is contingent
upon opportunity.

I know Erickson came to ASU in late 2006 with a reputation for running
rogue programs that would do anything to win games. I’m not going to
pretend that things went smoothly all the time for the ASU football
program under his tenure– on or off the field.

What I can say is that no matter what the situation, in success or failure,
Erickson was even-keeled in his dealings with the media and always
treated them with respect and class. That will be missed.

When asked about what his favorite part of coaching is, Erickson didn’t
miss a beat. “Oh the press conferences,” he deadpanned. “There’s no
question that I would be good at your jobs.”

Here’s hoping that Erickson’s days as a college football coach aren’t over
just yet.

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