Wild story out of Logan, Utah. The home of the campus of Utah State where the Aggies sometimes play football.
Their former head coach, Gary Andersen was fired this year after starting the season 0-3. He was still owed $2.7 million on his contract. $900,000 over the next three years.
This is Utah State by the way. They don’t play for College Football Playoff positioning, they’re happy with the Great Value Brand Bowl. And it makes me realize that I’m in the wrong line of work.
Anyways, Andersen turned down his remaining salary owed to him citing that he didn’t deserve it because of the crappy job he did.
I mean he’s right.
But also, WRONG.
Dude that is $3 million sitting there… $900,000 over the next three years. And my guess is he could go find another job that would pay him half that while he continued to rake in checks with the Utah State logo on them.
It’s a story that raises eyebrows and makes you say, good for him, before you yourself realize you would 100% not do the same thing.
Get to Know Gary
Gary Andersen has had a bizarre coaching career and that is putting it mildly.
For starters this is actually his second tour with Utah State. He coached the Aggies from 2009-2012 and put together a decent resume finishing his fourth and final year there with an 11-2 record and a win in the Idaho Potato Bowl.
Things got weird for Andersen from that point on.
Brett Bielma made the shocking decision to leave Wisconsin, a team that had just won the Big Ten championship to coach at Arkansas. Made zero sense at the time and it still doesn’t.
But Wisconsin goes out and hires Andersen, a seemingly normal, up and coming young coach who turned around a middling Mountain West Conference program into an 11 win team.
Andersen does okay at Wisconsin. Goes 9-4 his first year with a loss in the Capital One Bowl and then 10-3 the following year earning the Badgers a spot in the Big Ten Championship. Where they were blown out by the eventual national champions, Ohio State.
No matter, seems like Andersen has easily filled the shoes of Bielma and the Badgers will be a contender for the Big Ten crown for years.
Except that’s not what happened.
Andersen out of the sky, resigns from Wisconsin before their Outback Bowl game against Auburn.
He resigned to that he could go coach the power house known as Oregon State.
I didn’t mean to type Oregon and accidentally added State.
He left Wisconsin, the Badgers of the Big Ten to go coach Oregon State, the Beavers of the Pac-12…
So Wisconsin in the span of three years saw two coaches willingly leave their program to go coach in Fayetteville, Arkansas and Corvallis, Oregon…
I’ve never been to those two towns, I’m sure they’re fine, but I would not leave Madison, Wisconsin for them.
Wisconsin is a “football guy” paradise. Beer, cheese and meat are currency there. The weather is cold. If you lose a game, as long as you ran the ball over 25 times in doing so, you lost in an honorable way and no shame there.
Gary takes over at Oregon State for Mike Riley who took a job at Nebraska which was WAAAAAY over his head, but that’s a blog for another day.
He spends three years there and goes 7-23.
And in 2017 his final season, after a bad start AGAIN randomly resigns.
And AGAIN he declines the remainder of his contract which would have netted him $12 million.
So all in all Andersen has freely waived about $15 million dollars.
Other Comparable Buyouts
The first thing I thought of when I heard this was thinking of the dumb awe struck look on Bo Pelini’s face when he hears that a coach has willingly walked away from his buyout.
By the way. Pelini was just fired from his defensive coordinator position that he held for one year at LSU and was given a $4 million buyout. Imagine being paid millions of dollars for being terrible at your job?
Weis is often the first person that comes to mind when talking about enormous buyouts. He got $19 million over six years from Notre Dame. And then another $5.6 million from Kansas after a brief stint with the Jayhawks.
This just happened this year and was a pretty big story. Malzahn was just fired by Auburn and is getting $21.5 million for his services…
But sure, Wall Street and hedge funds are crooks.
Recently let go from Texas, even though Herman actually did well, just not to the lofty expectations that Longhorn boosters had expected when he first got the job. But he’s going to a new job with $15.4 million in his bank account. Not too shabby. Good luck Sark.
Can we stop giving this guy chances? He was a dumpster fire at Florida, and was a dumpster fire at South Carolina. Though I suppose that’s what makes the Gamecocks, the Gamecocks. He is getting $13.2 million.
What To Do With $3 Million
Andersen feels like he doesn’t deserve the $3 million he was still owed. Which is a fair and honorable thing to do, but for fun what could he have spent that $3 million on instead?
If he truly wanted to earn his money he could have invested it into Gamestop stock and help hold the line since he obviously isn’t worried about losing that money. Imagine what $2.7 million in Gamestop stock is worth?
A $2,000 Stimulus for 1,350 People
A pretty generous gift on his part and maybe he hopes the University will turn around and use the money he declined in the same sort of fashion. But that is a large amount of people he could help out.
Donate it to a Cause of His Choice
And honestly one could split it up in any sort of way among a few different causes and it would still be a very generous donation. I mean we are in a pandemic, with money needed for research to help us get out of it. Just saying…
Buy A PS5 or Xbox One
Ha just kidding, no amount of money can apparently buy you one of those machines. Just impeccable timing.
A COVID Vaccine?
I have no clue how much they cost and if they are even for sale but I imagine the price tag is less than $2.7 million.
Seriously Good For Gary
Look I can joke about it all day because I do not have the same golden heart that Gary Andersen has, I would take the $3 million and run. And as I pointed out earlier, he has left plenty on the table before. And other coaches have accepted way bigger buyouts to the point of his turning down $3 million seems inconsequential.
But in this time when people are struggling, I hope his selfless act helps save a job of someone lower on the totem pole at Utah State. Perhaps a janitor just trying to get by, and Andersen’s selfless act just saved him from being on the chopping block.
To that endeavor I tip my cap to Gary Andersen, hell of a guy.
Still super weird coaching career.
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