Gary Andersen did the unimaginable on Monday when he walked away from his job as head football coach at Oregon State.
Yes, quitting midseason was unthinkable. But the real shocker is that he left a reported $12.6 million unclaimed.
Some will say quitting midseason is bailing out on his team. At the same time, he didn’t get a penny beyond what he earned. In that sense, he did the school a favor. He could have ridden out the rest of the Beavers’ ghost ship season and collected the remainder on this year’s deal. He even could have gone through the motions for the remainder of his contract — or until OSU bought it out.
Instead, he quit.
If you know Andersen, it’s not so surprising after all. He’s an all-in guy. And if there’s a chance he isn’t all-in, then he’s out.
I suspect there’s more to it than this. Andersen blacked out at his home in 2010, falling in his bathroom and cracking two vertebrae in his neck. He said afterward it was a matter of pushing too hard. He vowed to keep things in perspective after that.
But then he went on to Wisconsin, leaving that job after two seasons. There was a lot of speculation on the reason. He said he wanted to be out West, thought Oregon State had potential, etc. But rumors persist that he didn’t get along with Wisconsin’s A.D. and didn’t like the “fishbowl” environment in Madison.
Regardless, it’s clear that Andersen didn’t think he could win in Corvallis, under the program's existing conditions. It’s equally clear to see the burnout factor that goes with the job.
Money and winning are prime reasons to keep coaching.
In Andersen’s case, there wasn’t enough of either to keep him going.