In the midst of a third consecutive disappointing season, Oregon State and head coach Gary Andersen have parted ways; they’re now telling everyone that they decided to “mutually part,” with Andersen electing to forgo all the money he’s still owed per his contract.
Andersen signed a six-year deal with Oregon State in 2014 worth $2.45 million initially, with his base salary climbing $100,000 every year after his first season. The Beavers extended his contract an extra season last December despite the fact that he’d amassed a 6-18 record since he first came over from Wisconsin.
The Beavers announced Andersen’s resignation this afternoon, offering a few, not-suspect-at-all quotes from Andersen and athletic director Scott Barnes in which they attempt to explain why the coach left damn near $12 million on the table.
“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.”
“This is an exceptionally difficult time for me, personally and professionally,” Barnes said. “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.”
“Coach Andersen’s decision to waive his remaining compensation is unprecedented in major college athletics,” Barnes said. “His decision is made for the right reasons and values, and it speaks volumes about the kind of honorable person that Gary Andersen is.”
(It’s worth noting that Andersen was already on the hook for a $3 million buyout he owed Wisconsin when he bolted to Oregon State before completing his contract, though like the Badgers did for Andersen’s Utah State contract, the Beavers likely helped him finance that payment.)
Despite the fact that the college football season just wrapped Week 6, the writing was on the wall for Andersen. After rushing up the coaching ranks with an 11-win season in his second year with Wisconsin, Andersen headed west to fill the spot left vacant by Mike Riley, with Beavers fans believing he could work similar magic. Of course, he could not—in the three years prior to Andersen’s hiring, Mike Riley directed Oregon State to 21 wins and two bowl appearances; in the three years since, the Beavers are 7-23, including their 1-5 start this season. This year’s sole win came against Portland State, and given that they’ve yet to hold an FBS opponent under 38 points, interim head coach Cory Hall will have his work cut out for him as he tries his best to cobble together the remnants of an already-broken season
Oregon State bet big on an up-and-coming candidate that had Power Five experience and missed hard; Andersen, who spurned Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez already and took a step down in Power Five gigs in order to have more control over his program and a higher ceiling for his assistant coaching budget, ended up shitting the bed. While he was at least on track to deserve his firing at the end of the year, the abruptness of it does at least make you want to raise an eyebrow at all that money—four-and-a-half season’s worth of an increasing multi-million dollar contract—he supposedly turned down for the good of the athletic department. If you know any reasons other than honor that Andersen stepped down and elected to forgo all that cash, email us.