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Tulane hires former UCLA coach Toledo

December 12, 2006|From the Associated Press

Former UCLA coach Bob Toledo is taking over at Tulane, a school desperate to rejuvenate its fan base in a city that will be rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina for years.

"I was one of those people from far, far away watching when disaster struck," said Toledo, currently New Mexico's offensive coordinator. "They've had to overcome a lot of adversity, and that's one of the things that attracted me here."

When Toledo walked into an atrium in Tulane's athletic center for his introduction Monday, wearing an olive green suit similar to Tulane's traditional school colors, boosters gave him an extended ovation. With Toledo, Tulane gets an established coach who has won at big schools and was looking to get one more shot as a head coach.

Toledo, 60, coached at UCLA from 1996 to 2002, compiling a 49-32 record that included a school-record 20-game winning streak and two Pacific 10 Conference championships. Despite his success, he was fired in 2002 by Dan Guerrero, then in his first year as UCLA's athletic director, who said he thought the program wasn't heading in the right direction after a 7-5 season.

Despite new on-campus practice facilities built after Katrina's floodwaters receded, Tulane faces a constant recruiting hurdle because of its high academic standards. Toledo said Pac-10 schools with strong academic reputations, such as UCLA and Stanford, have proved that such schools can field good teams.

Toledo will continue to coach New Mexico's offense through the Dec. 23 New Mexico Bowl against San Jose State. The Lobos are 6-6 this season.

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Arizona State introduced well-traveled Dennis Erickson on Monday as its new coach -- and the man school officials hope will lead the Sun Devils out of mediocrity.

The hiring marks the third Pac-10 coaching job for Erickson. He previously had stints at Washington State and Oregon State.

"It's exciting for me to have an opportunity to come to Arizona State and compete for the BCS championship, to compete for the Pac-10," Erickson said. "I'm looking forward to elevating the program."

The 59-year-old coach has a 149-64-1 record in 18 seasons that also included stops at Idaho (twice), Wyoming and Miami. He also coached six years in the NFL, four with Seattle and two with San Francisco. He had signed a five-year contract with Idaho a year ago only to leave after one season.

Terms of his Arizona State contract were not revealed, pending ratification by the state Board of Regents.

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