Exit stage left...

Speculation at the end of last week that Idaho head coach DENNIS ERICKSON was negotiating with Arizona State to fill their coaching vacancy ended over the weekend as Erickson accepted an offer to take over the Sun Devils program. It is uncertain at this time how much of his staff at Idaho will stay, but a search to replace Erickson is underway and expected to be swift.

Idaho Athletic Director Dr. Rob Spear confirmed Saturday evening recent media reports that Idaho Head Football Coach Dennis Erickson has accepted the head coaching job at Arizona State. "We are disappointed Coach Erickson has decided to accept the job at Arizona State," Idaho Dr. Spear said. "We will continue to build on the momentum that was established this past year and move quickly to identify the right coach for our football program."

Dennis Erickson returned to the Idaho Vandals only 10 months ago when he was hired to replace Nick Holt, who joined his former boss Pete Carroll at USC last February after first accepting a position with the St. Louis Rams under former Vandal assistant coach, Scott Linehan, days earlier.

"The University of Idaho will always be a special place to me and I would like to thank everyone who supported me in my return," Erickson said. "President Tim White and Athletics Director Rob Spear are doing all the right things to advance the University of Idaho's athletics program and I do believe we made progress this past season. But I am being pulled by an opportunity at Arizona State."

Under Erickson the Idaho Vandals went 4-8 and 3-5 in conference play during the 2006 season, while plans for further rebuilding of the Idaho football program followed a resurgence of interest and donations to the 100+ year old program. The sudden departure of Dennis Erickson usually means that many of his loyal assistants, who typically follow the transient coach, may have departed for Arizona State. But no official announcement was issued by the University of Idaho regarding any additional departures from the Idaho athletic department.

Idaho hired Erickson into his first college head coaching position in 1982 where he achieved legendary status while completing a rebuilding process in four seasons before departing for Wyoming at the end of the 1985 season.

Idaho's search for a new head football coach will be the third search in as many years for Athletic Director Rob Spear. For some of the players, the next coach will be their fourth head coach. If there was an award for enduring hardship or adversity the last four years, the University of Idaho football team would most certainly be the hands-down winner as the program adjusts to their home in the Western Athletic Conference.

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