CORVALLIS, Ore. — 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.
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.
Below is the complete press release from the school:
Oregon State University Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announced Monday that head football coach Gary Andersen and the school have agreed to mutually part, effective immediately.
“I thank Gary for his many contributions to our student-athletes, OSU Athletics and Oregon State University,” Barnes said. “OSU football has advanced significantly in many ways during Gary’s tenure here, including in our facilities and student-athlete academic performance. This program is poised for success on and off the field.”
Oregon State University and Andersen have mutually agreed to release each other from all future contract obligations and payments, which were guaranteed through the 2021 football season.
“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. “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.”
“This is an exceptionally difficult time for me, personally and professionally,” Barnes said. “I have known Gary for many years and respect him highly as a person, my friend, a head football coach and an incredible leader of young men. The timing of this is very difficult; however it is the best for all involved.”
“Coach Andersen’s decision to waive his remaining compensation is unprecedented in major college athletics,” Barnes said. “His decision is made for the right reasons and values, and it speaks volumes about the kind of honorable person that Gary Andersen is.”
Barnes said he immediately would undertake a national search to appoint a head coach for the 2018 season, and would utilize a search firm to identify and review candidates. He and OSU President Ed Ray will ultimately decide who will coach the Beavers.
In the interim, Barnes has appointed current Beaver assistant coach Cory Hall to lead the program.
Hall is in his second season with the team after joining Oregon State in January 2016. He has college coaching experience at Washington State University, Weber State University and the University of Wisconsin. In addition, he is a six-year NFL veteran, having played for the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. Hall graduated from Fresno State University where he also played football. In his OSU tenure, he has coached former Beaver Treston Decoud, a fifth round draft pick last April by the Houston Texans, and current All-America cornerback Xavier Crawford.
Andersen led the OSU football program to unprecedented academic success during his nearly three-year tenure with the team, posting record term cumulative grade point averages, a renewed emphasis on community service involvement, and last season, the Beavers defeated Oregon for the first Civil War victory since 2007.
In addition, Andersen’s head coaching career includes being a semifinalist for the 2013 Maxwell Award Coach of the Year, a 2012 finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, leading Utah State to the 2012 Western Athletic Conference championship and Wisconsin to the 2014 Big Ten West Division title. As a head coach, Andersen’s student-athletes have achieved 149 conference academic honors, and he has coached 36 individuals selected in the NFL Draft. Andersen has also been a head coach or assistant coach for 11 teams that advanced to bowl games.
Andersen will not be available for media interviews for the immediate future.
© 2017 Associated Press