Doug Erickson spent last Saturday the way he has every fall for 60 years – coaching a football team.
Starting next year, though, Erickson won’t be on the sidelines. The octogenarian decided that this would be his final season after stops at five area high schools.
“I left a lot of good kids,” said Erickson, who concluded his coaching career with the Mohonasen modified division team. “Coaches say it’s about them, but it’s not. It’s about the kids.”
To celebrate Erickson’s final day as a coach, Mohonasen athletic director Joseph Scalise invited Erickson’s former players to come to last Saturday’s home game against undefeated Guilderland. More than 30 former players came to the game and thanked Erickson for his six decades of service.
“He’s just as energetic now as he was back then,” said Kevin Clough, who played for Erickson in middle school and then assisted him as a volunteer coach from 2005 through 2010. “He’s probably a little more mellow now, but he still has the one-liners.”
“Doug has mellowed over the years, trust me,” added Steve Brassard, who played for Erickson at Draper High School from 1969 through 1971 and later coached with him at Mohonasen.
Clough and Brassard shared stories from their days playing for Erickson.
“When I was in eighth grade, we went 6-1. I was the backup running back, and our starting running back got hurt,” said Clough. “[Erickson] designed a play for me, and I fumbled the ball. The kid from the other team picked it up and ran it 90 yards for a touchdown. I knew [Erickson] would be right there waiting for me [on the sideline] and when I turned, there he was. He said, ‘I’m not disappointed that you fumbled the ball. I’m disappointed that you just watched him run 90 yards for a touchdown.’ He always wanted everyone to play hard.”