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San Francisco's Center position highlighted. 03/30/01 9:00 PM

Soon after the news conference and the parade of questions that were asked of newly appointed head coach Dennis Erickson, Dennis stepped up to the podium and clearly defined what he was here to do.

He left no doubt to the imaginations of all 49er fans all over the globe as they looked cross-eyed from the Mariucci debacle and all it’s insanity to a new man that prophesized a bright new future for our franchise.

“Our goal is to win the world championship,” Erickson told a news conference. “I would like to believe that we can compete for a world championship next year.”

To say such a bold statement requires a commitment like no other he has ever undertaking on the professional level. Here stands Dennis Erickson refugee of the NFL and cast out into obscurity back into the college ranks only to surface again with another golden opportunity.

He inherits a much more talented team than he did with Seattle, but his inability to bring his team into the post-season speaks for itself despite one bad and very blown call.

All the eyes and ears of the San Francisco 49er faithful are upon Dennis Erickson to deliver on his promises of something new and rejuvenated. There is actual hope for the first time that the team will make that coveted run under a new head coach that will attack continuously until relentlessly without merit or sympathy. Many fans can attest and I happen to have been one of them, what Bill Walsh thought of the hiring of Dennis Erickson. Even though like others that have faith in Terry Donahue, I still look to the mastermind behind the making of this great franchise. Almost like seeking an answer to the question from someone in a higher level of excellence and in my mind that is what Bill Walsh is all about. We must not ever forget that it is Bill Walsh that made the very fabric of this organization and molded it into an image that bred championships. He instilled a philosophy and a doctrine that we still follow to the letter today with some varied alterations. I am proud that he has remained as long as he has with us in mind, body and soul. Without him I honestly believe that we would still be in the midst of rebuilding rather than acquiring winning records the last two years. We all know about the skeletons that exist in Dennis Erickson’s closet. The alcoholism, the lack of attention to details, the poor discipline that undermined a poorly assembled coaching staff he put together while in Seattle. These are but a few of the mistakes he has been known for as a professional coach. Obviously he has cleaned up his backyard while on the college tour and has won championships and became distinguished as a leader among his peers in the college coaching ranks. Can you compare Dennis Erickson with Steve Mariucci? I must say that would be most difficult as each are very different in their approach to the game. Remember it was Bill that recommended Steve Mariucci as the next head coach while George Seifert was getting his walking papers. Since then Mariucci has achieved marked results in six years but ultimately failed to get us to the coveted championship and another Super Bowl. Somehow the consensus came down on to one asset that many of us believe was missing in action throughout the 2002 San Francisco 49er season. Lack of a killer instinct it has been called, a motivational factor that should have been more asserted and practiced throughout the season. This along with seeking more power within the franchise was his ultimate downfall. Unfortunately Steve never really saw it coming as the overtures he had been reading were genuine and true as to their intent, what happened was a snapshot right over a Friday the 13th motion picture horror show. He was berated over the phone and then found himself faced with the very real prospect of being fired, and he was. “What more can you ask? He’s got a great mind,” 49ers consultant Bill Walsh said. “He’ll adapt to the 49ers and I think He’ll coordinate what we’ve done and what he’s done. He brings a new dimension to our offensive team. We’ve been concerned about getting the football down the field all last season and I think if anybody can do it, Dennis can.” Dennis is a high profile offensive minded coach. He has been the head coach of Oregon State since 1999, compiling a 31-17 record. He jump started a slumping football program and guided the Oregon Beavers to three bowl games, including a 2000 Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame. In his 16 years as a collegiate head coach, Erickson has a combined record of 144-57-1. He was 63-9 at the University of Miami over a course of six seasons in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, winning in the end two national titles. All this at about the same time that the San Francisco 49ers were enjoying their glory years.