Erickson Leaving for San Francisco, NFL

Oregon State Head Coach Dennis Erickson is leaving Corvallis to take the top spot with the San Francisco 49ers. The opportunity to return to the NFL apparently too tough to turn down.

Oregon State has scheduled a 6:30pm news conference in Corvallis to announce the departure. Erickson will meet with the team this afternoon to break the news to his players.

OSU Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis is expected to announce his plans in the search for a replacement in the press conference. Three high profile names have already expressed interest in the position, has learned. It is believed that former OSU coach and Corvallis native Mike Riley is among them. Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano has also expressed an interest in the position.

Possible candidates also include New Mexico's Rocky Long, Hawaii's June Jones, and Boise State's Dan Hawkins.

It is believed that much of the OSU staff will remain together in Corvallis. ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that the 49ers will keep Greg Knapp as Offensive Coordinator and Ted Tollner as Quarterbacks coach, making it less likely that Lappano will join Erickson, even if someone outside is chosen as the new coach. Gregg Smith and Al Simmons are the most likely candidates to leave.

Erickson compiled a 31-17 record in his four seasons at OSU, including three bowl trips. The highlight of his career was the 2000 season, in which his team put together an 11-1 record, that saw a 23-13 victory over Oregon in the Civil War and a 41-9 blowout victory over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

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