During one of the strangest coaching carousels in recent memory, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen is out in Madison. Light the #DazWatch bat signal once more?
MADISON, Wis. -- Gary Andersen informed the Wisconsin football team at a team meeting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday that he was taking the head coaching job at Oregon State University. UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez has immediately started a national search for a new head football coach.
"I began working to find a new head coach as soon as I spoke with Gary this morning," Alvarez said. "My first concern is taking care of the players on the current team, especially the senior class, and ensuring that their bowl experience is a memorable one. I will find a head coach to uphold the great tradition at Wisconsin, someone who is committed to excellence both on and off the field.
"I want to thank Gary for his two years here and commend him on the way his team performed on the field, in the classroom and in the community. I wish him the best at Oregon State."
Alvarez will meet with the media at a news conference today beginning at 5:15 p.m. at the Camp Randall Media Room.
While Andersen is a west coast guy (hails from Salt Lake City, Utah), he was only at Wisconsin for two seasons and was coming off a Big Ten West division title and championship game appearance. Andersen leaves a pretty favorable setup in Madison for arguably the worst job in the Pac-12. Hmm.
Andersen is the second high profile coach to leave Madison in three seasons, following in Bret Bielema's footsteps. Bielema left Wisconsin for Arkansas after winning three straight Big Ten titles. Purely speculative, but have to wonder whether working for a former Badgers head coach-turned-AD is wearing on coaches in Madison.
Of course, speculation will now turn to who replaces Andersen as the head coach of the Badgers. Steve Addazio's name is surely going to come up as he runs a similar offense to the Badgers blunt force trauma ground game. Wisconsin's uber-talented running back Melvin Gordon turned in an Andre Williams-like performance this season, rushing for 2,336 yards and 26 touchdowns. He's headed to New York as a Heisman finalist and will almost certainly follow Williams as this year's Doak Walker Award winner.
Fortunately for Boston College fans, there are several ACC head coaches with much stronger ties to the Wisconsin program. Pitt head coach Paul Chryst served as the Badgers offensive coordinator from 2005-11, while N.C. State head coach Doeren served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2006-10. Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, then at Bowling Green, finished second to Andersen during the Badgers' last coaching search.
Plus, I'm sure Miami coach Al Golden will throw his name into the ring as well. He always does.
On a scale of 1 to 10, call it #DazWatch level 4. Think there are more attractive coaching candidates out there for both Michigan and Wisconsin, though it does give me pause that two high-profile Big Ten jobs are currently open at the same time.