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End of an era ... ennis Erickson found the University of Wyoming perfectly suited lo his needs. Four vears earlier. he had discovere-d the same thing about the Ul. Erickson. who resigned as head football coach on Nov. 30. accepted the head coaching s pot with the UW Cowboys two days later. But that was not all he did. Sporti ng a brown coat and matching pants. E r ickson outlined his future pla ns to a group ofUW reporters during a press confe rence in early December. But for Vandal fans. Erickson's appearance seem ed strangely fa miliar. Although his once brownish-blond hair is now streaked with gray. the 38-year-old Erickson looked much as he did when he first accepted the UI's head coachi n g position in December. 1981. In fact, the suit Erickson wore for his debut in Laramie was the exact outfit he sported when he was first introduced in Moscow. " I did that on purpose." Eric kson said in an a r ticle published in the Lewiston Tribune. "Actually. my wife did it. She put it a ll together. We did it for good luck." And if Erickson 路s jacket can come close to duplicating the feats achieved at Idah o. Cowboy fans will be singing the praises of Erickson and D urlng his four-year ca reer. Denni s Erickson complied a 32- I 5 record . Not only were 32 wins a school record. but his .681 winning percentage was also a Ul mark. His final vict or y cam e against Boise State Universit y when the Vandals knocked off the Broncos 44-27 and locked up the Big Sky Conference crown. D 128 Coaches at the Ul, but it is the beginning of the Dennis Erickson era at the University of Wyoming. FoUowing the Vandals' victory against the Boise State Un iversity Broncos. Erickson hugs wide receiver Eric Yarber. his "wearin' of the brown ... During his four-year UI stint, Erickson won more ga mes than any footbal l coach in the school's history. His 32-15 record included a Big Sky Conference championship (1985). two trips to the Division I-AA p layoffs ( 1982, 1985) and the conferen ce's Coach of the Year award in 1982. But despite all of the awards. titles and records Erickson racked up during his stay in Va ndal-land. it was his love for the game that first brought him here. As the former offensive coordinator at pass-oriented San Jose State. Erickson 's first innovation was to replace departing coach Jerry Davitch's ground offense with an airborne strategy. And thus "Air Erickson" was born. "I loved the opportunity here. I worked as hard as I could to make it what it is today. I hate leaving the players. I hate leaving the people. but it's something I just have to do in the profession," Erickson said. He recognized the UW'sjob as just latest step in a series of professional moves. "You have your goals in life." he said. ''I've been in football all my life, a nd ideally you'd like to move up the ladder. But I don't think you just move to move. I think you move to a place you want to move and you move to make the right move. and I really feel the University of Wyoming is the right place for Dennis Eric kson." And if Erickson's luck at the UW parallels his UI successes, the chances a re good that Erickson's brown suit may make yet another public appearance. o S tanding on the sidelines during a summer scrimmage. Denni s Erickson watches the action on the field. The summer workouts paid off when during t he regular season Erickson became the winningest coach in Ul histor y.

1986 Gem of the Mountains, Volume 84 - University of Idaho Yearbook

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