Boomers Getting Back in the Game

*Editor's Note: It appears that Oregon State has settled on a new coach! It's not Dennis Erickson, but his former quarterback Jonathan Smith*

I love watching college football on senior day.  It’s a bittersweet reminder that nothing lasts forever with the possible exception of the friendships one develops playing intercollegiate sports. For 90 percent of the athletes, Senior Day is the final hooray, the last chapter of their college sports experience. Only a talented few get to actually make a living playing the game they played in college. For most players, Senior Day celebrates the end of something special. They don’t get to come back a few years later and suit up for a game, it just doesn’t work that way for players, but it can for coaches.

This week two very well known former coaches, seniors of another type, are lobbying to get back in the game.

Former Oregon State coach Dennis Erickson, now 70 years of age is making a pitch to become the head coach again, 20 years after his successful run with the Beavers and he’s selling a package deal.

When Erickson coached at Oregon State his quarterback was Jonathan Smith, who is now in his fourth season as Offensive Coordinator at Washington. Erickson is pitching OSU to hire him as head coach and Smith as Offensive Coordinator. Smith also interviewed for the head coaching job at Oregon State earlier this month.

If Erickson is able to pull this off, it won’t be unique but it would be unusual. If he does it successfully he might just start a trend. I can see the bumper stickers now, “hire a senior, they’re already been there.” 

Erickson admits to being bored with retirement. He told The Seattle Times recently, “I’m not a good person to retire, I can only hit it out of bounds so many times,” a reference to his many days on the golf course since leaving coaching.

As a senior myself I love the idea of Dennis Erickson rebuilding the Oregon State program and then leaving it to his Offensive Coordinator Jonathan Smith, it makes sense and it might just start a trend. Maybe it already has. ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, former New York Jets coach, has confirmed he’ll interview for the head coaching job at Arizona State.

I love the idea of older men and women coming back into the industry or profession they thrived in before retiring. Let’s face it Baby Boomers know how to work. They’re less concerned about vacation time and compensation than they are about doing a good job and feeling needed again.

There are 72 million Baby Boomers in America and many of them want to work again, some for extra spending money but most for the opportunity to get back into the game.

I’m rooting for Erickson and Edwards to get those head coaching jobs and when they do I’ll drive right over to KING-5 television in Seattle and apply for my old job as Sports Director.