SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- New San Francisco Coach Dennis Erickson said Wednesday he was in a hurry to win another Super Bowl title for the 49ers.
"I'd like to think we can compete for the world championship next year," the 55-year-old Erickson said. "I'm getting old. I want to get it going."
The 49ers formally introduced Erickson as their new new coach Wednesday, ending a prolonged and somewhat circuitous four-week search that ultimately made its way to Corvallis, Ore.
Erickson was lured away from Oregon State to take over a team that fired Steve Mariucci on Jan. 15.
Mariucci went 60-43 in six years with the 49ers and led them to four playoff appearances but never went to the Super Bowl. Erickson coached the Seattle Seahawks from 1995-98, compiling a 31-33 record and never leading them into the playoffs. They finished 8-8 three times and 7-9 in 1996.
At Oregon State, Erickson turned the Beavers into a winning program with a 31-17 record and three bowl appearances. But the desire to succeed in the NFL never left him.
"This is a great opportunity," Erickson said. "I've always wanted to compete for a world championship and that never left me. I learned a lot about everything in those four years (in Seattle)."
Erickson said he was contacted by 49ers General Manager Terry Donahue on Friday, interviewed over the weekend and was offered the job Monday. On the flight from Oregon on Tuesday night, he ran into 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens, who will be one of his star players.
"I think he was a little surprised (to see me on the plane)," Erickson said. "We had a nice discussion."
Erickson gave hints of the plan he will use in hopes of bringing the 49ers back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 season. The offensive-minded Erickson said he likely will maintain offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and will keep the West Coast offense in place.
"We're going to keep the same terminology, the same offense," Erickson said. "We'll look at everything and add a thing or two. My job of coaching is being aggressive."
Erickson did not say if defensive coordinator Jim Mora Jr. would be retained. He plans to evaluate the rest of the staff.
Erickson said he would like to bring along long-time assistant Gregg Smith from Oregon State but would wait to see if Smith is considered as head coach of the Beavers.
Defensive coordinators Ted Cottrell of the New York Jets, Greg Blache of the Chicago Bears and Mora conducted interviews last week with Donahue and were believed to be the finalists for the job. But Donahue reached out to potential college candidates over the past few days and surprised many with the selection of Erickson.
Erickson said he first met Donahue in 1982 as coach of Idaho and hinted that a meeting six years later may have stuck in Donahue's mind. Washington State, then coached by Erickson, upset top-ranked UCLA, then coached by Donahue, 34-30.
"I believe we won that game," a smiling Erickson said. "I really enjoyed that day. I appreciate what it did for my career."
Before joining Seattle, Erickson won national championships at the University of Miami in 1989 and 1991, going 63-9 in six seasons.
Erickson was named college coach of the year in three different conferences -- Big Sky with Idaho, Pac-10 with Washington State and Oregon State and Big East with Miami.
He informed the players of his decision Tuesday, less than a week after National Signing Day.
"The timing is never right, whether it is before or after Signing Day," Erickson said. "I talked to them and they understood. The players are goal-oriented. They knew I wanted to win a world championship."