[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or the first time in more than 32 years, Dennis Erickson will be a college assistant coach.
Erickson, who led Miami to national championships in 1989 and 1991, will join Kyle Whittingham’s staff at Utah as co-offensive coordinator. Erickson has been a head coach at seven Division I schools and two NFL teams since he was San Jose State’s offensive coordinator back in 1981.
A formal announcement from Utah is expected Monday morning.
Erickson will hold the co-OC title with Brian Johnson, who was named Utah’s offensive coordinator prior to the 2012 season. Johnson, who was just 24 years old at the time, was the young FBS coordinator in the nation.
Sources said that Whittingham was looking for an experienced coach to work alongside Johnson. He also interviewed former Colorado State head coach Steve Fairchild, a 31-year coaching vet. Fairchild was named Virginia’s offensive coordinator on Jan. 30.
Erickson, who turns 66 in March, compiled a 179-96-1 collegiate record over stints at Idaho (1982-85, 2006), Wyoming (1986), Washington State (1987-88), Miami (1989-94), Oregon State (1999-2002) and Arizona State (2007-11).
In the NFL, Erickson was 40-56 with the Seattle Seahawks (1995-98) and San Francisco 49ers (2003-04).
Erickson served as a volunteer assistant for his son Bryce’s South Albany High team in Woodburn, Ore. last year.
Utah has had six different coaches hold the offensive coordinator title in as many years. Andy Ludwig finished his final year with the Utes in 2008 and was succeeded by Dave Schramm, who then shared OC duties with Aaron Roderick in 2010. Norm Chow led Utah’s offense in 2011 before leaving to coach Hawaii, before Johnson was given the title in 2012.
The opening on the Utah staff came when defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a departed to Wisconsin on Dec. 20.
Whittingham moved fullbacks and tight ends coach Ilaisa Tuiaki to the defensive staff to make room for a new offensive assistant.