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Gary Andersen on Oregon State: ‘This was just the place I needed to be’

Gary Andersen said he completely expected to still be at Wisconsin right now, but when the Oregon State head coaching job opened up after Mike Riley left for Nebraska, it was something he needed to look into. Andersen said throughout his years in coaching he’d always been fond of Oregon State.

“I knew it was a place I was immediately interested in,” Andersen told The Jim Rome Show. “I was excited about the opportunity to at least communicate to see the direction of the program.”

Andersen said by the time he met with Oregon State president Ed Ray, he’d done his homework and wasn’t a tough sell to take over the program.

“There were a lot of things that I saw from afar that really impressed but that did nothing but grow as we went through the education process,” said Andersen. “I didn’t have to hear a lot, I knew this was a place that I just believed was a fit. And as we went through the process it became clear and clean that this was where I was supposed to be.”

Andersen knows what he’s left behind in Madison, but just felt drawn to Corvallis.

“Don’t get me wrong I left some quality kids too and I understand that and love those young men there at Wisconsin, but this was just the place I needed to be,” said the coach.

Andersen also denied reports that one of the reasons he left Wisconsin was due to the institution’s high academic standards.

“That’s not a factor, at the end of the day, there’s academic standards at every institution,” said Andersen.

“There’s frustrations everywhere. Every job has its frustration, but to say I left Wisconsin because of the academic scenario – that’s not a true statement.”

Andersen said telling Wisconsin Athletic Director and former head coach Barry Alvarez he was leaving after two seasons wasn’t an easy conversation.

“Coach [Alvarez] didn’t agree obviously, he wanted us to stay there and be a part of that program,” said Andersen. “It was a difficult few hours, but I think after we got through that he understood what direction I wanted to go.”

Andersen said Alvarez was upset, but professional.

“He gave me an opportunity to talk to the team as a whole team, he gave me the opportunity the next day to have my office open, roughly all day long for the young men to come up that wanted to sit down and talk to me one-on-one and I had a number of those kids that were able to do that,” said Andersen. “So I’d say coach handled it professionally, not happy about it, I understand that, I don’t expect anybody to be happy in those situations but it was a difficult time for myself, coach, the kids in the program, but I thought it was handled professionally.”

  • Gary Andersen
  • Dec 16th 2014