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The scoop on Gary Andersen and his hiring at Oregon State
Some things Beaver Nation should know about new Oregon State coach Gary Andersen (with an "e," not an "o") and the process of getting him hired:
OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis and deputy AD Mark Massari interviewed five candidates for the job: Wisconsin head coach Andersen, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin, Utah State coach Matt Wells, Hawaii coach Norm Chow and San Diego defensive line coach Osia Lewis.
De Carolis and Massari flew to the Midwest to meet with Andersen. Soon thereafter, Andersen was offered the job.
The OSU executives were able to make the decision more quickly than normal, with the approval of President Ed Ray, under the school's "accelerated hire" provision. The move was made to try to keep intact the 2015 recruiting class and to help ensure that Beavers athletes weren't moved to transfer.
Another factor: OSU officials are hoping Andersen will consider the hiring of any or all of four assistants on Mike Riley's Beaver staff (Joe Seumalo, Brent Brennan, Rod Perry and Chris Brasfield), who have not moved on to Nebraska with Riley -- yet.
On Wednesday afternoon, OSU officials were waiting to make the announcement until Andersen was able to tell his Wisconsin players. Andersen flew to Madison from Orlando, where he was to be in attendance for Thursday night's ESPN College Football Awards banquet. Badger Melvin Gordon is one of the finalists for the nation's top running back award.
Andersen, who was making $2.2 million a year at Wisconsin, will get a contract commensurate with that at Oregon State. One source said his five-year deal starts at $2.2 million, with bonuses and increases $100,000 annually, making it a total guaranteed package averaging $2.4 million. He has been given the clearance to offer Pac-12-competitive salaries to his assistants.
Riley's guaranteed contract was $1.5 million last season at Oregon State.
Under Andersen this season, Wisconsin ranks third nationally in rushing yardage (314.0 yards per game) and fourth in total defense (283.2) -- that despite taking a 59-0 pounding by Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. The 17th-ranked Badgers (9-3) face 19th-ranked Auburn in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl at Tampa. Fla. Andersen is not expected to coach in that game.
Andersen, 50, is a Salt Lake City native with deep Utah roots. He was a first-team junior college All-America center at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in Rexburg, Idaho, as a sophomore, then played at Utah in 1985 and '86.
He started his coaching career as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana in 1988, then coached the offensive line at Ricks (1989-91) and the defensive line at Idaho State (1992-94). He served one year as head coach at Park City (Utah) High, then two seasons as assistant head coach/defensive line/special teams at Northern Arizona.
Andersen coached for a dozen years under three men at Utah -- Ron McBride (1997-2002), Urban Meyer (2004) and Kyle Whittingham (2005-08). Andersen and Whittingham both served on McBride's staff from 1997-2002 -- Andersen as defensive line coach, Whittingham as defensive coordinator.
When McBride was fired and Meyer hired, Andersen moved to Southern Utah for one season as head coach. In 2004, Andersen returned to Utah under Meyer, coaching the D-line while Whittingham was D-coordinator. When Meyer moved on to Florida, Whittingham became head coach and hired Andersen as his D-coordinator.
Andersen stayed until 2008, then was hired as head coach at Utah State, where he served from 2009-12. He was head coach at Wisconsin in 2013 and '14.
In Andersen's 12 years at Utah, the Utes were 8-0 in their bowl games. Andersen was on the staff of the Utes' two undefeated seasons. In 2004, under Meyer, the Utes went 12-0, beat Pittsburgh 35-7 in Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll. In 2008, they finished 13-0, beat Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 2. In those 12 years, Utah was 88-43 with 10 winning campaigns.
At Utah State, Andersen took over a program that had experienced 11 straight losing seasons and had gone 6-30 the previous three years. During Andersen's time there, the Aggies went 4-8, 4-8, 7-6 and then 11-2, the latter the best record in school history. In 2012, the Aggies lost only to Wisconsin 16-14 and BYU 6-3, beat Toledo 41-15 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 16.
At Wisconsin, Andersen's teams went 9-4 and 10-3, winning the Big Ten West this year.
During those two seasons, the Badgers went mostly with a pro-style, run-oriented offense featuring talent left by his predecessor, Bret Bielema, who departed after the 2012 season for Arkansas.
During his time at Utah State, Andersen employed a balanced, wide-open offense. His final season there, quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdowns while Kerwynn Williams rushed for 1,512 yards and 15 TDs.