Dennis Erickson has either retired or been fired, depending on who you listen to. But his name is off the Arizona State web site. Rick Neuheisel reportedly will be fired after UCLA plays for the conference championship. Meanwhile Washington State’s Paul Wulff is gone also.
In this day of big money and conference notoriety, Universities are not allowing coaches any time to develop their football program. No longer can a coach have at least 4 years, so his first recruiting class are seniors and you can get a true basis of where the program is heading.
Erickson is 64 and will meet with Arizona State Athletic Director Lisa Love Monday to discuss his future. He is expected to just step down. Retirement may not be the word he uses because e may still want to coach elsewhere. Erickson was 31-30 in five seasons in the desert.
A record of 21-29 over 4 years and a loss to USC Saturday night may be the death-knell for Neuheisel at UCLA. Neuheisel is denying the report, saying when he was hired he was told to “move the needle.”
UCLA won 5 conference games this season, compared to 3 last season. This weekend the Bruins will play in the PAC-12 conference championship game, mainly because USC cannot since they are on probation. Even a win in that game and the subsequent Rose Bowl may not be enough to save Neuheisel’s job.
Paul Wulff is now out at Washington State. The Seattle Times is reporting Wulff’s tenure will end after 4 years. The Cougars lost to Washington 38-21 Saturday night. The loss likely was not the deciding factor. That was probably because in his four seasons the former Cougar offensive lineman has compiled just nine wins.
You would think the UCLA job would be the most coveted position. However no names have surfaced as a replacement for Neuheisel. In fact it is the Washington State job that may be a hot spot. Not only could the Cougar alumni try and convince former coach Dennis Erickson to come back, but former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has thrown his name in the hat.
Leach is also said to be in the running for the Kansas job since Turner Gill has been fired. Erickson is from Washington, has been a winner for the Cougars before and if he wants to coach would be a good segue into an assistant taking over in 3-4 years.
Leach brings a lot of baggage. He is still involved in three lawsuits with Texas Tech, ESPN and ESPN commentator Craig James over his firing. But he is a proven coach with a winning background. Something Washington State will be looking for.
Coaches are not receiving the time they need any longer to build a successful program. It’s “win now” or face the unemployment line soon. Something that doesn’t bode well for the consistency of a program.
But the consistency is gone in College Football.