ASU official: Erickson out as coach

By The Associated Press November 28, 2011 

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Dennis Erickson is out as Arizona State coach, a university official told The Associated Press, after another season in which the results didn't meet the expectations for the Sun Devils.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity on Sunday because details of Erickson's departure have not been finalized.

Erickson will meet with athletic director Lisa Love as early as today and, at 64, could be allowed to retire rather than be fired. He is unlikely to be with the team in any bowl game it might play.

Erickson's job came into jeopardy after Arizona State lost its final four games following a 6-2 start, knocking the Sun Devils from contention to play in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game next Friday. He was 31-30 in five seasons in the desert.

Erickson won a pair of national titles with Miami and had stops at Oregon State and Idaho before arriving in Tempe in 2007. He had an impressive start in the desert, named the Pac-10 coach of the year after leading the Sun Devils to the Holiday Bowl and their first 10-win season in nine years.

That turned out to be the highlight of his tenure.

Arizona State won no more than six games the next three years, ineligible for a bowl last season because two of its games were against Football Championship Subdivision schools.

Love opted to stick with Erickson despite three straight shaky seasons and the Sun Devils went into this year with high expectations, returning nearly every starter on both sides of the ball.

Arizona State looked good early, taking control of the Pac-12 South after its first eight games, then went into a tailspin.

After becoming bowl eligible for the first time in four years with a win over Colorado on Oct. 29, the Sun Devils lost their grip on the South with a loss to UCLA the next week, and couldn't make up ground despite the Bruins' lackluster finish.

The final blows for Erickson's chances of keeping his job came with a disappointing home loss to rival Arizona, which had fired its coach and had won just two games at that point, followed by Friday's 47-39 loss to California at home.

"I don't know that I have ever been through a month like this," Erickson said after the loss to Cal. "We felt that we had a chance to have a great year, then you lose four in a row and just end up with a very, very average year."

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