January 17, 1995 in City

Erickson Brings Hope To Seahawks

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The prodigal son returns.

And downtrodden Seattle Seahawks fans are singing the hallelujah chorus - with the possible exception of a few Washington State University spoilsports who still are miffed that he abandoned them six years ago.

The Northwest should be excited that Dennis Erickson, ex-WSU and University of Idaho football coach, now guides the Seahawks.

The Everett High graduate not only is one of the Northwest’s own, but he also is expected to transform the hapless Seahawks into a Super Bowl contender.

This time, he looks like he’s going to take the money - and stay. The Philadelphia Eagles offered twice as much, but Erickson turned them down.

He apparently wants to come home - after 13 successful seasons as a college football coach, including two national championships at the University of Miami.

Erickson has his critics.

Some Cougar followers see him as a contract-shirking ladderclimber who built a winning team by recruiting troubled kids and turning his back on their criminal tendencies and academic deficiencies.

During his tenure, several Cougs spent time in local jails.

But the purists ignore the fact that college football is big business where coaches must win or else. That means, all too often, taking chances on good athletes who are poor students. And playing loose with rules.

Erickson didn’t fudge any more or any less than most other Division I coaches while compiling a winning percentage better than former Hurricanes coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Jimmy Johnson.

The fact that some Miami boosters haven’t forgiven him for losing nine games in six seasons emphasizes the type of pressure Erickson endured. And survived.

If nothing else, Erickson finally is free to concentrate on football. He doesn’t have to pretend a team of semiprofessionals actually has any interest in scholastics.

He no longer has to fret about eligibility, schmooze with pushy alums and wipe the snotty noses of trash-talking freshmen.

The native son certainly is as good a coach as Johnson, who, you might recall, had some success with the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a television announcer.

Erickson also might have a Troy Aikman to build his team around in quarterback Rick Mirer. And Seattle has a high draft pick.

With any luck next season, Seattle will make the playoffs. And, sometime soon … the Super Bowl?

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board


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