The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Dennis Erickson featured in the 2024 class of the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame

Former Coug and Northwest football legend gets recognized
Former WSU head football coach Dennis Erickson was named to the College Football Hall of Fame on Monday.

The Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame inducted former Washington State head football coach Dennis Erickson into their 2024 class earlier this month. 

The class of 2024’s induction took place at the Westin in Seattle as a part of the Seattle Sports Commission’s Seattle Sports Star of the Year Awards Show.

Erickson was inducted alongside former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, Washington Huskies quarterback Steve Pelluer, University of Washington associate Chip Lydum and longtime athletic trainer Jim Whitesel.

Erickson’s head coaching career started in 1982, right down the road from WSU with the Idaho Vandals. 

He was Idaho’s winningest head coach in just four seasons (1982–85). 

In his first season, Erickson transformed a 3–8 team into an impressive 8–3 FCS playoff contender.

Erickson finished his tenure in Moscow with a 32-15 overall record and left for the University of Wyoming in 1985.

Erickson spent one season in Laramie, but the Cowboys finished 6-6 and Erickson did enough to catch the eye of Washington State with his “Air Express” spread offense. 

He took the job here on the Palouse in 1987,  where he only spent two seasons(1987-88), but helped turn the program around.

In his first season with Wazzu, the Cougars finished with a 3-7-1 record and took ninth place in the Pac-10, the same record as the year before. 

In year two, Erickson and the Cougars exploded to a 9-3 record, which was Wazzu’s first nine-win season since 1930 and their first bowl victory in 73 seasons.

Washington State beat Houston in the 1988 Aloha Bowl and Erickson won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. 

Following the 1988 season, Erickson left the rolling hills for the beachfront and joined the Miami Hurricanes, where he would have the most success. 

Erickson spent six seasons in Miami and won two national championships with the Hurricanes (1989 and 1991). 

Erickson finished with a record of 63-9 at Miami and ESPN made a documentary about the team that included Erickson’s tenure, titled ‘The U’.

Erickson would go on to bounce between the NFL and college ranks for the rest of his career, spending time with college and professional northwest sports teams like the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon State Beavers. 

Erickson even made a return to the University of Idaho in 2006, where things did not go as planned.

The Vandals finished with a 4-8 record and Erickson left for Arizona State after just one season. 

Erickson was a national champion as a college football coach and spent the majority of his career coaching teams in the Pacific Northwest.

Not only is Erickson highly regarded in the West, but he also left a lasting impact on the University of Miami as he helped propel the school into an era of continued success via national championships and bowl success. 

Miami also recognized Erickson in 2005 with an induction into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame. 

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About the Contributor
Zach is a junior multimedia journalism major from Clarkston, Washington. He likes football and grew up going to Cougar football games.