The new attempt at a Spring football league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF), continues to name franchise cities and new head coaches. And the one taking the helm of the new Salt Lake City, UT, team is familiar to fans in the state of Florida.
A source close to Dennis Erickson confirmed to F.F.I. that Erickson will be named the new head coach of the Salt Lake City team at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Erickson had most recently been assistant head coach/running backs coach at the University of Utah under Kyle Wittingham for four seasons until he retired after the 2016 season. He is best known for his six year run in Coral Gables replacing Jimmy Johnson (1989-94), where Miami won two National Championships, and his QB, Gino Toretta, won the Heisman Trophy.
Erickson left for the NFL to coach the Seahawks 1995-98. He later coached at Oregon State, back in the NFL with the 49ers (2003-04), and then back to college with Arizona State starting in 2007. That season, he led the Sun Devils back to prominence with a 10-2 finish, a share of the then-Pac-10 title and was named coach of the year in the conference.
The AAF has already announced three previous franchise locations and head coaches, including the team coming to Orlando in February of 2019 that will be coached by former Gators legend Steve Spurrier. Spurrier is no stranger to a Spring league, as his first head coaching job was with the very successful Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL in the 1980’s. He was also briefly (2002-03) head coach of the Redskins.
The new league also named an Atlanta franchise with former Vikings coach Brad Childress as the coach, and last week announced a Memphis franchise with former 49ers coach and Bears Hall of Famer, Mike Singletary, to lead them.
So, the hiring of Erickson by the AAF fits the pattern of established head coaches with previous NFL head coaching experience.
It has also been reported that the AAF will have a “Southern California” team, that may play in San Diego, and former UCLA, 49ers, and University of Washington coach Rick Neuheisel is expected to be their head coach.
The league also announced Wednesday that they will have a new franchise in Tempe, AZ and will name that coach at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
The AAF plans to have eight total teams play a 10 game schedule from February to April of 2019, and already have a national TV/cable deal with CBS Sports for their “game of the week.”
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