Former Utah State head coach Gary Andersen officially parted ways with Oregon State on Monday, and that leaves us with one big question:
Andersen's departure isn't a surprise for anybody watching football in Corvallis these days. While Oregon State isn't exactly a football powerhouse in the Pac-12, a 7-23 record simply won't cut it. Things haven't gotten any better as the Beavers are off to a 1-5 start with their lone win coming against Portland State.
There's a chance Oregon State will hire Mike Riley for a third time as it doesn't seem that he'll be head coach at Nebraska for much longer, either.
What's puzzling about this entire thing is that Andersen is leaving an awful lot of money on the table. According to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, Andersen waived the remaining $12.7 million left on his contract. In contrast, former Notre Dame and Kansas head coach Charlie Weis could still be getting paid to not coach football.
"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 according to the Associated Press. "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."
Certainly not something you see every day in the world of college athletics. Or any athletics for that matter.
So, what does Andersen do now?
It doesn't seem likely that any Power 5 programs will come knocking this time, at least for a head coaching job. Not only is Oregon State a mess, this is the second time Andersen has suddenly left a program. He spent only two seasons at Wisconsin before leaving for Corvallis. Andersen didn't even wait to coach Wisconsin's bowl game in before heading out in December 2014. And it wasn't like the Badgers were struggling. They were 7-1 in Big Ten play that season.
Few of Andersen's career moves have made sense since he left Logan, at least from the outside looking in.
Would he want to return to Utah State? In 2012, he put together one of the most successful runs for the Aggies in program history, including a 11-2 season, a WAC title and a No. 16 finish in the final AP Poll. He proved that he could recruit NFL-caliber talent to Logan. So, couldn't he replicate his success with a second go?
Granted, Utah State has a head coach in Matt Wells. The Aggies had a rough season last year as they went 3-9, but the Aggies are doing better at 3-3 so far in 2017. Replacing Wells with Andersen now may do more harm than good to everyone involved. Then again, it also could be the shot in the arm Utah State needs to get back to where it was before Andersen left.
It would be a gamble to be sure. Perhaps things will be a bit clearer at the end of the season than it is now.
Of course, Andersen could take a job at a Group of 5 program other than Utah State. He's shown that he can be a head coach before. Perhaps a fresh start at a program would be best for him as he looks to regain some momentum. A place that doesn't have the expectations of Wisconsin or Oregon State might be great for him to get his coaching mojo back.
Another option is for Andersen to become a defensive coordinator at a Power 5 program like he was for Kyle Whittingham at Utah. Then again, he's been a head coach since 2008. Would he be happy to take a coordinator job instead? That would be quite the pay cut, not to mention the loss of prestige.
Then again, he just left more than $12 million dollars on the table.
Of course, there's always the option to retire from football. ESPN has been picking up former head coaches at regular intervals. Perhaps we could see him as a color commentator here in the state of Utah.
Whatever he decides, the next episode of Andersen's career will be riveting.