A 1965 graduate of Everett High School. Dennis Erickson excelled as an athlete in an unusual situation, competing against his father, Robert “Pinky” Erickson, who was the head football coach at cross-town rival Cascade High School.
As a result of his success, Dennis earned a scholarship to Montana State where he was twice named Big Sky All-Conference quarterback.
Landing his first head college coaching job at the University of Idaho at the age of 34, Erickson would become the school’s winningest head coach in just four seasons. Moving to Washington State University, he coached the 1988 Cougar team to a 9-3 record and a win in the Aloha Bowl, the school’s first bowl victory since 1931.
During his tenure at the University of Miami, Erickson became just the second Division I head coach to win a national title in his first season at a school, leading the Hurricanes to the 1989 NCAA title. He led Miami to a second national title in 1991 and posted a 63-9 record in his six seasons.
After a stint coaching the Seattle Seahawks, Erickson returned to the college ranks at Oregon State University in 1999 and, in his first season, led the Beavers to their first winning season in 29 years. The following season OSU went 11-1, shared the Pac-10 title, and defeated Notre Dame soundly in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. The Beavers were ranked fourth in the Associate Press national standings and earned Erickson The Sporting News’ National Coach of the Year honors for 2000.
After brief stops coaching the San Francisco 49ers and once again Idaho, he took over the head duties at Arizona State University in 2007. He led the Sun Devils to a 10-3 record, a share of the Pac-10 title and a berth in the Holiday Bowl. For these successes during 2007, Dennis Erickson was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, becoming the first man ever to win the award at three different schools. His overall college coaching record at the end of the 2009-2010 school year was 163-74-1.