Gary Andersen’s tenure at Oregon State lasted 30 games.
The school announced Monday that it and Andersen, who was in his third season with the program, have agreed to “mutually part,” effective immediately. The Beavers dropped to 1-5 with a 38-10 loss to USC on Saturday, leaving Andersen with a 7-23 overall record at Oregon State, with a 3-18 mark in Pac-12 play.
“I thank Gary for his many contributions to our student-athletes, OSU Athletics and Oregon State University,” athletic director Scott Barnes said. “OSU football has advanced significantly in many ways during Gary’s tenure here, including in our facilities and student-athlete academic performance. This program is poised for success on and off the field.
“This is an exceptionally difficult time for me, personally and professionally. I have known Gary for many years and respect him highly as a person, my friend, a head football coach and an incredible leader of young men. The timing of this is very difficult; however it is the best for all involved.”
As part of the agreement, Oregon State said it and Andersen have “mutually agreed to release each other from all future contract obligations and payments.” Andersen had a guaranteed contract through the 2021 season that would have paid him in excess of $12 million.
“After many discussions with Scott, waiving my contract is the correct decision and enables the young men and the program to move forward and concentrate on the rest of this season,” Andersen said. “Coaching is not about the mighty dollar. It is about teaching and putting young men in a position to succeed on and off the field. Success comes when all parties involved are moving in the same direction.”
Added Barnes: “Coach Andersen’s decision to waive his remaining compensation is unprecedented in major college athletics. His decision is made for the right reasons and values, and it speaks volumes about the kind of honorable person that Gary Andersen is.”
Andersen apparently told The Oregonian’s John Canzano he would walk away — “I respect Scott and I won’t hold him hostage” — if he didn’t believe he could win at OSU. From Canzano:
Andersen met on Sept. 25 in the early morning on campus with athletic director Scott Barnes.That was Monday after a Bye Week. Andersen spent the off week fuming and fighting through his discouragement. Barnes was Andersen’s right-hand man in the same AD role at Utah State. Nine days earlier Andersen lost to Washington State 52-23, but he was frustrated that a $1 million locker room project had the funds frozen. Also, he had other concerns about support at OSU, but he left the meeting with Barnes feeling optimistic.
He told me: “We are on the same page overall. I respect Scott and I won’t hold him hostage.”
Andersen also reiterated that if he didn’t believe he could win at Oregon State he would pull the unprecedented move of tearing up his contract and letting the Beavers go free. And that appears to be what happened today in Corvallis in an announcement that shocked the campus.
Barnes will begin a search for the team’s 2018 coach “immediately.” The next head coach will be chosen by Barnes and school president Ed Ray.
For now, Cory Hall, the team’s cornerbacks coach, will assume the role of interim head coach. Hall joined the OSU program in January 2016.
Andersen replaced Mike Riley in Corvallis after a two-year stint at Wisconsin. With the Badgers, he went 19-7 and won the Big Ten West in 2014. His final game at Wisconsin was a 59-0 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. Before arriving at Wisconsin, Andersen was the head coach at Utah State for four seasons. In 2012, his Aggies went 11-2 and won the Western Athletic Conference.
Before his time at USU, Andersen, a native of Salt Lake City, was a defensive assistant at Utah from 1997-2002 and 2004-2008 with one year (2003) as head coach at Southern Utah in between.
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