And the college coaches’ coaching carousel spins again and again…
Bleacher Report is reporting that Gary Andersen, who borrowed a page from the coach he replaced, Bret Bielsma, has announced he is leaving Wisconsin as head coach, and has accepted the head coaching position at Oregon State effective immediately.
Andersen spent two years at Wisconsin, compiling a 19-7 record with the Badgers. The Badgers lost to South Carolina in last years Capital One Bowl, 34-24. Under Andersen’s reign, the Badgers had the sixth-best offense in 2013 and 13th-best this year.
Andersen came over after serving Utah State as their head coach from 2009 to 2012. He took over at Wisconsin for Bret Bielsma, who then surprised the Badgers by accepting the head coaching position at Arkansas after serving 2006-2012 as head coach. Athletic director Barry Alvarez, himself a former Badgers head coach, will assume head coaching responsibilities for the Badgers’ upcoming Outback Bowl January 1 against number 19 Auburn.
Alvarez served in the same capacity for Wisconsin when Bielsma unexpectedly left for Arkansas’ head coaching position. Alvarez has stated that Wisconsin will begin a nationwide search for a new head coach. Alvarez stated that even though he would coach the Badgers in this year’s bowl, he would like to have a new coach in place before the bowl game.
Sports Illustrated is reporting that Andersen may have left for quite possibly a myriad of reasons. There has been talk that coaches for Wisconsin have long complained that academic standards for Wisconsin are set a bit too high. Others have speculated that the pay packages for assistant coaches are far too small. Some have even speculated that Andersen was yearning to get back to West Coast time having missed it. Most think it’s a combination of these factors, and perhaps a few more.
USA Today recently published a list of top college assistant coaches pay, and found Wisconsin to be 40th overall. Of most important concern to Wisconsin fans is that Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska yearly compete in the Big Ten Western division. So far, Wisconsin has done a good job with less resources, but continued practices would eventually prove hazardous to the Wisconsin program.
If this is indeed the reason Andersen left Wisconsin, and Bielsma before him, Alvarez can quite easily rectify this. Find a way to increase assistant’s pay reduces the chance of assistants leaving, creating better continuity amongst the team.
[Image courtesy of Portland Tribune/Univ. of Wisconsin]