It’s offensive coordinator mentor ‘Take 2,’ for the Utes as Utah announced Monday that former Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson has been hired as Utah’s co-offensive coordinator.
Erickson, who went 179-96-1 in 23 seasons as a head coach and won two national championships, was in town a week ago for an interview. The 65-year-old Erickson returned to Phoenix Tuesday night and had a hip replacement Wednesday. He will begin his new duties on Feb. 19, according to the school’s release.
“Dennis Erickson brings a wealth of knowledge and coaching experience to our program,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He has been labeled as one of the architects of the spread and we are looking forward to the impact he will have on our offense. Coach Erickson also has recruiting connections across the country which should benefit us on that front as well.”
The hiring is similar to the one the Utes made in January of 2011 when Norm Chow was brought in as offensive coordinator with the hopes his experience and offensive knowledge would help not only Utah’s players but young coaching staff.
His departure to become Hawaii’s head coach at the end of the 2011 season led to the promotion of quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson to the offensive coordinator’s position while Aaron Roderick was named passing game coordinator.
Johnson, who turns 26-years-old on Saturday, will share the coordinating duties with Erickson.
Erickson won national titles in 1989 and 1991 as the coach at Miami and was the 2000 Sporting News National Coach of the Year while at Oregon State.
He has been the head coach at six universities, including Pac-12 schools Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State.
Erickson most recently coached at Arizona State from 2007-11 where he went 10-3 in his first season, but failed to win more than six games in his final four years. He was fired on Nov. 28, 2011 with a final record of 6-7.
Erickson’s aggressive offensive style might be just what the Utes’ offense needs as it has struggled in recent years to be as dynamic as Whittingham wants it to be.
The Utes ranked at or near the bottom of the Pac-12 in the major offensive categories in 2012, averaging just 26.7 points last year and 324.4 yards of offense.
- Lya Wodraska