Oregon State and coach Gary Andersen have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately, with the Beavers off to a 1-5 start.
The school announced the split in a news release Monday, two days after a 38-10 loss at Southern California. Oregon State did not have a victory against an FBS team this season.
“This was something that evolved between the both of us,” athletic director Scott Barnes said.
He said the conversation with Andersen got to a point Sunday “where we made a final decision.”
Cornerbacks coach Cory Hall was named interim coach. The Beavers face Colorado at home on Saturday.
“I’m going to give it my best, because in the end that’s what the kids deserve,” Hall said.
Oregon State says Andersen, 53, and the school “agreed to release each other from all future contract obligations and payments.” Andersen’s contract had been extended after last season and ran through the 2021 season. He was due to make $2.65 million this season and had he been fired without cause he would have been due about $12 million.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Barnes said the fact that Andersen waived his contract was testament to his character.
“That’s just who Gary is. That’s a statement of who the man is and his integrity and the honor with which he conducts his business,” Barnes said. “At the end of the day, he felt that was an important piece to this, and obviously it creates a clear path.”
Barnes said that there were no issues with health or anything that would warrant firing Andersen for cause.
Andersen was in his third season with the Beavers and the team appeared to be sliding backward this season after showing some progress in winning four games last year, including a victory against rival Oregon that snapped an eight-game losing streak in the Civil War series for the Beavers.
Players reacted on social media, among them freshman receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who tweeted: “This one hurts.”
During his tenure Andersen struggled to find a starting quarterback in the face of numerous injuries.
Darell Garretson started at the beginning of last season but he was knocked out by a broken ankle. Backup Conor Blount injured his knee, essentially thrusting Marcus McMaryion into the starting role for the Beavers’ final six games.
The Beavers brought in community college transfer Jake Luton this season and he started before he sustained a thoracic spine fracture in a loss to Washington State.
Andersen finished 7-23 at Oregon State.
“No better leader of young men… gave me the opportunity nobody else in the country would! Forever grateful for him!” Blount posted to Twitter.
Andersen came to Oregon State under unusual circumstances after he abruptly resigned as Wisconsin coach in December 2014 after two seasons in Madison. He went 19-7 with the Badgers, but parted ways with the program after becoming frustrated with some of Wisconsin’s academic admissions policies and standards.
The Utah native previously spent four seasons at Utah State, working with Barnes as AD, and led the Aggies to an 11-2 season in 2012. He was also a longtime assistant at the University of Utah.
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk grew up in Logan, Utah, and lived close to the Andersen family – and thus became close with Andersen’s twin sons, Chasen and Hagen.
“He was a great coach, I think he’s going to get another opportunity,” Falk said Monday afternoon. “He totally revived the Utah State program when I was there and that was really fun to be a part of in that community. He’s a tremendous coach, he’s an even better guy so I think he’s going to have success wherever he goes.”
The players were told late Monday morning.
“Like any change, and I won’t diminish this, it’s an emotional time for our student-athletes, it just is. Particularly the surprise that it was. They all gave him a big bear hug,” Barnes said. “What’s so important for us now, not only as a football staff but as an athletic program, is to put our arms around those student-athletes and get them redirected. We have a pretty short window before we’ve got to get them back on the field. We want to make sure their minds are right, and will do whatever we need to do to make sure they’re in good position.”
Barnes said the school would immediately begin the search for a new head coach.
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