SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Today, The Alliance of American Football introduced Alliance Salt Lake, its fourth announced market, and unveiled former Utah assistant coach Dennis Erickson as the team’s head coach. Alliance Salt Lake home games will be played at Rice-Eccles Stadium beginning in February of 2019.
“I’ve been around the game of football my entire life,” said Erickson, who spent four years at Utah and won two national championships at Miami. “My father was a coach, I played the quarterback position through college, and of course, I’ve been coaching for nearly 50 years. My passion for football and teaching the game has never wavered, and The Alliance is the perfect opportunity to get back on the sidelines and continue doing what I love,” said Dennis Erickson, head coach, Alliance Salt Lake. “I’m excited to return to Salt Lake City as I have fond memories of my time with the University of Utah, where I saw first-hand the passion the city has for the game for football. The Alliance is about building a dynamic relationship between players, fans and the game, and I’m looking forward to Alliance Salt Lake being active in this community and competing for a championship.”
The AAF already has franchises in Atlanta, Memphis and Orlando, and will name four other teams in the coming weeks.
“We have been very deliberate with the cities we’ve chosen to represent The Alliance in our first year, and we see Salt Lake City as the perfect backdrop to introduce high-quality, professional football next springm” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO of the Alliance of American Football. “As one of the fastest-growing American cities it’s backed by an ever-rising millennial population and an incredibly ardent fan base. In the fall, the Utah Utes consistently exceed seating capacity for home football games at Rice-Eccles Stadium, one of the more impressive venues in the country. Up until now, once the Utes conclude their season, there have been no other football options for such a burgeoning city that has so much passion for the game. We are proud to say this changes with today’s introduction of Alliance Salt Lake and Dennis Erickson as head coach.”
Erickson’s coaching career spans 47 years across the collegiate and professional level. At age 34, Erickson was hired as the head coach of the University of Idaho and went on to become Idaho’s all-time winningest head coach in just four seasons (1982-85). After successful stints at Wyoming (1986) and Washington State (1987-88), Erickson replaced Jimmie Johnson as head coach of Miami. In six seasons with the Hurricanes, Erickson won two national championships and accumulated a 63-9 record, the highest win percentage in school history. Erickson transitioned to the NFL as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks for three seasons, before returning to college at Oregon State. There, he led one of college football’s biggest turnarounds, coaching the team to its first winning season in 29 years. In 2000, the Beavers defeated Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, punctuating an 11-1 season that netted Erickson a National Coach of the Year nomination. Erickson returned to the NFL as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2003-05. He then served as head coach at Idaho (2006) and Arizona State (2007-11) before joining the Utes in 2013 as co-offensive coordinator.
Alliance Salt Lake will be comprised of many local college football players from Utah, BYU and Utah State. NFL veteran players and executives like Troy Polomalu and Bill Polian are helping run the upstart league.