Todd Graham and Dennis Erickson to cross paths one more time

Nov 5, 2013, 11:08 PM | Updated: 11:08 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. — They’ll be on opposite sidelines with different goals Saturday, but two years ago, for about a week, they were on the same sideline (OK, same building) with the same goal: Putting Arizona State in the best possible position to succeed.

Todd Graham had just been hired as head coach. The man he replaced, Dennis Erickson, fired weeks earlier after losing the final four regular season games in 2011, was staying on to finish his fifth year coaching the Sun Devils by leading them against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Incoming head coach sat down with outgoing head coach.

“When I was hired he was very gracious,” Graham said. “I asked for the opportunity to visit with him and he visited with me and was very gracious; just kind of gave me the lay of the land. Nothing but respect from my standpoint for him, a guy that has national championship rings on his fingers.”

Graham and Erickson may run into one another again this week when ASU visits Utah.

After a year away from the game, Erickson came out of retirement. He was hired in February to join Utah as co-offensive coordinator with Brian Johnson under head coach Kyle Whittingham.

Utah (4-4, 1-4) is coming off its bye. And while they have struggled lately, losing three of four, their most recent win came against No. 5 Stanford, 27-21.

“Obviously got tremendous respect for Coach Erickson. He’ll be a hall of fame coach,” Graham said. “Very grateful for the job that he did here bringing young men like Taylor Kelly and Fink (Evan Finkenberg) and Will Sutton and Alden Darby. I was very, very fortunate to be at a place that had really quality people that really was a great fit for me. Nothing but respect there.”

The feeling is mutual. Erickson was one of the first to congratulate Graham and what were now his former players after ASU beat Arizona last season, 41-34.

“He was very gracious last year when we won the Territorial Cup and dropped us a line,” Graham said. “Really appreciated that.”

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

Report: UCLA, USC planning to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten

USC and UCLA are reportedly planning to leave the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten as early as 2024, per The Mercury News' John Wilner.
13 hours ago
Defensive back Jordan Clark #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup ...
Nikash Nath

Kyle Soelle, Jordan Clark ready to lead new faces for ASU football

ASU junior CB Jordan Clark and senior captain LB Kyle Soelle are expected to lead a Sun Devils defensive that'll have many new faces in 2022.
7 days ago
Arizona State Sun Devils offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson (77) lines up during the college foot...
Nikash Nath

Arizona State OL LaDarius Henderson talks new culture amid low expectations

OL LaDarius Henderson has been with ASU since 2019 and is no stranger to experiencing personnel and cultural changes within the program.
16 days ago
Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after the loss to the Utah Utes at R...
Kellan Olson

SunDevilSource’s Karpman: Scathing opinion on ASU football unsurprising

A scathing take about ASU football from an anonymous opposing coach became the topic of conversation around the state of the program.
16 days ago
Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Image...
Kevin Zimmerman

Opposing coaches give spicy ASU football takes in Athlon Magazine

Given the cover of anonymity, opposing football coaches are not holding back while assessing the state of the Sun Devils' football program.
18 days ago
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock sits on stage before a news conference ann...
Nikash Nath

2 Sun Devils, 1 Lumberjack make 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Two Arizona State Sun Devils and one Northern Arizona Lumberjack have made the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame induction ballot.
25 days ago
Todd Graham and Dennis Erickson to cross paths one more time