Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen is leaving Wisconsin after 2 seasons. Gary Andersen went 19-7 in his two years at Wisconsin with a BIG Ten Title game and 2 bowl game appearances. But in surprising news, Andersen is leaving Wisconsin to become the new head coach over at Oregon State. The Oregon State Beavers confirmed the hiring of Gary Andersen via their official Twitter page:
Wisconsin director of athletics Barry Alvarez is very surprised by the news of Andersen’s departure:
“I really had no idea this was in the works. I thought Gary was a good fit,” Barry Alvarez said. “There was never any talk about, ‘Some day I’d like to get back to that part of the country.’ When you’re away for a while maybe that settles in. I don’t know that. Those are things you may want to ask him.
As for Andersen, he kept his comments quite short as it sounded like he didn’t want to give something away:
“We worked very hard together and accomplished some great things. I had the opportunity to meet and coach some great young men and I look forward to watching them as they continue their careers and move through life,” Andersen said.
Barry Alvarez has already begun a nation wide search for the next Wisconsin head coach that would coach the team in the Outback Bowl versus #19 Auburn on New Years Day. Alvarez says he’s looking for someone with head coaching experience, and they don’t have to have any ties to Wisconsin.
“My phone is ringing off the hook already,” Alvarez said. “Word is just starting to leak out and I’ll be very busy tonight answering phone calls from agents and coaches.
“I’ll try to make contact with people … and try to move as quickly as we possibly can through our system and the process we have to follow,” he said. “My goal would be to have somebody in place certainly before the bowl game” Alvarez said.
Multiple Wisconsin seniors have asked Alvarez to coach the game. Barry said he will make a decision on that depending on how the head coach searching ends up going. Alvarez coached Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl back in 2012 versus Stanford. He coached the game after the coach at Wisconsin before Andersen (Brett Bielema) left for Arkansas.
“I told him I would be honored to coach them,” Alvarez said. “I wanted them to understand, if I was going to coach them, we weren’t going to screw around, we were going to go out there to win.”
Heisman trophy finalist Melvin Gordon said Andersen’s departure was a shock to him:
“I was shocked,” Melvin Gordon said. “Didn’t see it coming. Thought he’d be there a long time … He seemed happy. He was smiling. I saw no sign of this.”
Melvin Gordon then spoke to Gary Andersen later today:
“He said he had to do what was best for him. He sounded hurt. I heard hurt in his voice.”