Gary Andersen has been selected to be the next head football coach at Oregon St. University.
Anderson, most recently the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten (B1G), replaces Mike Riley, who last Thursday took the job at Nebraska, also a Big Ten team. His selection is about as out of the blue as was the announcement that Riley was going to Lincoln.
Anderson, 50, will be formally introduced at a press conference at the Valley Football Center at 1:30 PM Friday.
Andersen will also make an appearance Saturday at the men's basketball game.
Andersen, after winning the B1G West, and Paul Bunyan's ax, with a season ending win over rival Minnesota, found himself in an uncomfortable position after Ohio St. walloped Wisconsin 59-0 in the B1G Championship game Saturday night. However, that, a 10 point loss to South Carolina in last year's Capital One Bowl, and a 10 point loss at Fresno St. in 2011 are the only double digit losses Andersen's teams have suffered since 2010.
Anderson has been at Wisconsin for 2 seasons, replacing Bret Bielema, and going 9-4 in 2013, before posting a 10-3 campaign this season, winding up 17th in the end of season AP poll, and 18th in the CFB Playoff rankings.
This season, Badger running back Melvin Gordon was the country's leading rusher and scorer, earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors, and is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy award.
Prior to that, he was head coach at Utah St. for 4 seasons, including being named the WAC Coach of the Year in 2012. Andersen was 26-22 in his 4 seasons in Logan, but went a school record 11-2 in 2012, a school record, and won the Aggies' first conference championship in 76 years, winding up ranked #16 in the nation. Utah St. went to back to back bowls for the first time ever in his last 2 campaigns, though both were the Famous Potato Bowl in Boise.
Anderson was an assistant under both Urban Meyer and Kyle Wittingham at Utah for 11 seasons before that, including both of the Ute's unbeaten campaigns, with a 1 year side trip as the head coach at FCS division Southern Utah in the middle, and also played for the Utes.
No contract details have been released yet, but there was a $3 million buyout clause in his Wisconsin contract, which paid $2.4 million this year.
Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez mentioned in his comments about Andersen departing that family reasons were a factor, and being from the west, that certainly makes some sense.
Other reasons that have already been speculated about for reasons to leave a relatively more successful and high profile program for one that's less so include frustration over the budget for Assistant Coaches' salaries and difficult admissions and retention standards at Wisconsin, but both are nearly identical to what has he will find at Oregon St.
As such, you have to assume a return to familiar western surroundings has to be one of the major factors.
Anderson's hiring was fast-tracked under the university's "accelerated hire" provision, which allows an expedited hire in any area when special circumstances/needs are declared. Oregon State did meet the minority interview requirement, having talked to Hawaii head coach Norm Chow and San Diego St. defensive line coach, and Oregon St. alum, Osia Lewis, in addition to current Utah State head coach Matt Wells, who was an assistant to Andersen in the latter 2 years of Andersen's stay in Logan, and Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin.
Once we know the economic terms, both for Andersen and his staff, the picture should become clearer.
We'll have more details in the days to come.