Two years ago Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez had to figure out who was going to coach his team in the Rose Bowl game. He will have to do it all over again this season as he scrambles to find a suitable successor.
In a stunning move, head coach Gary Andersen taken the head coaching job at Oregon State.
The move comes days after the Badgers’ 59-0 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship game. Players took to twitter expressing their disbelief as Andersen. Alvarez was “very surprised” in Andersen’s decision. Alvarez stated family considerations for Andersen’s decision.
Anderson will replace Mike Riley who parts ways with Oregon State after 14 seasons to become the new head coach at Nebraska. Alvarez has stated he would like a new coach for the Outback Bowl against Auburn on New Years Day. Alvarez coached Wisconsin in the 2012 Rose Bowl in and his seniors have asked him to coach the bowl game this season.
The move comes two seasons after former coach Bret Bielema pulled the same move on Alvarez by taking the head coaching job at Arkansas. Perhaps a trend that Alvarez and his Athletic Department will address when it comes to the new coach. 14 coaches have already expressed interest in the job. Alvarez has also stated that the new coach will not need ties to the school.
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, a Heisman finalist who announced he would enter the NFL draft on Monday, shared his thoughts on Andersen’s departure during the Home Depot College Football Awards show earlier this evening.
“I was shocked,” 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.”
Gordon, who spoke to Andersen earlier in the evening, said of their conversation, “He said he had to do what was best for him. He sounded hurt. I heard hurt in his voice.”
Andersen takes a career 45-29 record, 19-7 in two seasons in Madison to Corvallis. Before his two seasons in Wisconsin, Anderson was 26-22 in four seasons at Utah State. He was 11-2 in 2012 and was named the Mountain West Conference coach of the year.