On Tuesday, a UW-Madison head football Gary Andersen confirmed that he interviewed for the vacant head coaching position for the Cleveland Browns.
UW also confirmed that Andersen received a $100,000 raise in annual salary. Interesting timing.
While it’s unsure if Andersen turned down the Browns or simply wasn’t offered, shortly after, former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was hired by the Browns.
Looking at this situation in a broad spectrum, I see two different ways to think about this story.
First of all, can you really blame Andersen for wanting to coach in the NFL?
He would’ve been offered a contract that would’ve by far exceeded the amount that he is currently hauling in at Madison. He would’ve also been heading into a promising situation in Cleveland. The Browns currently own two first-round draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft and one of those picks would presumably be used on one of the stud quarterback prospects (i.e., Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles). They also have a stingy defense with both young and veteran talent.
So looking at the possibilities he would’ve had in Cleveland, it’s hard to blame Andersen for thinking about leaving the NCAA for the higher-paying NFL.
However, at the same time it kind of bothers me that he thinks he would have a good enough track record to jolt to the NFL. Andersen’s overall head coaching record in the NCAA is 39-35.
Now yes, most of that record is shadowed by his first two seasons at Utah State when he went 4-8 in 2009 and 2010, but the Badgers were only 9-4 last season. They had a team that easily should have been in a BCS bowl game. To even make matters worse for Andersen’s resume’, his Badgers lost in a non-BCS bowl game to South Carolina.
What about the recruiting class he just acquired? For the past year Andersen has been trying to implement his system into this organization and he went through all of the effort to acquire all these new recruits that would help fit in his system.
What does this say about his future in Madison?
For me, honestly I don’t really know what to think about his future in Madison. He’s only been here for one season and he’s already looking at offers in the NFL. Should Badger fans be worried? Really I think we should be. Andersen has made it clear that he is completely focused on what stands ahead of him at UW-Madison. Currently, he now has his mind set on spring ball and working to improve this team each day until next September. But what happens when next January rolls around and more NFL head coaching positions are available?
Will he be tempted to make that leap to the NFL and leave all his hard work behind at Madison? This is something that Badger fans should really be keeping a close eye on.
What do you guys think?
I just want to make it clear that by no means am I trying to imply that I don’t approve of Gary Andersen as the Badgers head coach. I think he has done a fantastic job so far in Madison and I feel that the players are really buying into the system that he is selling. I want Andersen to stick around Madison for a long time, it’s stories like these however that make me nervous about his permanency as the head coach.