Good coach deserves a good career move
The people who think they're the real Dennis Erickson experts are the ones who don't know him.
They will tell you about scandals in Miami they know nothing about and graduation rates they didn't bother to research. They will tell you about Erickson's restlessness or his blind ambition. They will tell you all about him.
But they don't know him.
Those who do, his peers in the profession and others, will tell you something much different. He's old school. He's funny. He's got the charisma of an evangelist and a very soft heart. He cares about people. I have found him to be a delightful man of strength and character.
Frankly, I don't think Oregon State can ever replace him. Come on, you think these good football players are coming to Corvallis for the animal husbandry program? Or the uniforms? More than any school in the Pacific-10 Conference, the football program has been all about the coach.
And Oregon State was Dennis Erickson.
His charisma, his aura Ñ they became the face of the Beavers. Along with two championship rings, Erickson brought a sweet scent of success to Corvallis that hadn't been there since the days of Tommy Prothro.
Now he's leaving, and I don't think he needs to be branded a snake-oil salesman because of it. Folks, it's Corvallis. It's Oregon State. And there's no reason to believe you're ever going to keep a successful coach there forever. Four years? That's not a bad length of service, particularly when you leave the program in better shape than you found it.
And I don't think you can worry about whether the next coach will someday leave. He will. Either in front of a parade or an angry mob.
Come on, the best coaches for this school right now Ñ the ones with a track record of success Ñ are probably ex-Beaver coach Mike Riley, Hawaii coach June Jones and Boise State coach Dan Hawkins. If one of them comes to Corvallis and wins big enough to attract the attention of the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders or Chicago Bears, you're not going to keep him in the orange and black.
That's the way it is. You lose games, you get fired. You win games, you get a chance to coach somewhere else. All that should be expected is that the coach leave town with the program in better shape than when he arrived.
Then there can be no complaints.