Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre said he was shocked when he learned on Monday that Oregon State and Gary Andersen had parted ways.
The two coaches have faced off numerous times in the past, not only the past two years in the Pac-12 but also when Andersen was at Utah State and MacIntyre at San Jose State.
“He’s a great man and great coach,” MacIntyre said Tuesday morning. “We definitely need people like him in college coaching.”
Oregon State announced the two parties had mutually agreed to part ways with Andersen walking away from the last four years of his contract that ran through the 2021 season. Andersen was just 7-23 during his time at Oregon State.
MacIntyre and Andersen would have squared off one more time this Saturday when the Buffaloes come to Corvallis for Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at Reser Stadium.
Both teams will be looking for their first Pac-12 victory. Oregon State (1-5, 0-3) has lost four straight and all four have been blowouts. Colorado (3-3, 0-3) has dropped three straight after starting the season 3-0.
So with Cory Hall taking over as the Beavers’ interim coach, will the Buffaloes need to prepare any differently?
“No, we’ll prepare the same way we would have anyway,” MacIntyre said.
Part of MacIntyre’s shock came with how quickly the relationship between Oregon State and Andersen got to this point.
“I think it’s absolutely crazy,” he said. “I don’t know the details but I think it’s crazy they would let him, he would be leaving in the middle (of the season) after 2½ years into a program that wasn’t established when he got there. It’s a tough deal.”
MacIntyre, in his fifth season rebuilding a Colorado program that was about as bad as could be, knows how hard it is to turn things around in a short period of time.
“You need time, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “We had a long, long way to go and everybody here, the administration, everybody understood how far we had to go until we were all going in the same direction.”
With that support and patience, MacIntyre led the Buffaloes to the South Division title last season before falling to Washington in the Pac-12 title game.
The Buffaloes were 1-11 in 2012 before MacIntyre took over. Colorado went 4-8, 2-10 and 4-9 in MacIntyre’s first three season and just 2-25 in Pac-12 games.
Colorado was 8-1 in Pac-12 play and 10-2 overall to end the regular season last year before the Buffaloes lost the Pac-12 title game and their bowl game to finish 10-4.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, a longtime friend and colleague of Andersen’s at several stops along the way, said he has had numerous conversations with Andersen this season.
"I'm just going to say it didn't shock me,” he said when asked about Andersen and Oregon State parting ways. “… I’ve known Gary a lot of years and I know how he thinks and what his makeup is. So yeah, that’s what I said. It didn’t shock me.”
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez called the news a surprise and said he thinks Andersen is “an outstanding football coach and great person.”
“They’ve had some injuries and some tough luck but you don’t expect anything to happen at this point in the season with anybody unless it was just some kind of emergency,” he added.
Rodriguez, who is no stranger to being on the proverbial hot seat, said the pressure to win immediately has increased, not just at traditional powers but just about everywhere, over the past few years.
“That’s the world we live in,” he said. “It’s a great profession but it can be a lousy job at times. So it’s an interesting dynamic.”
Whittingham tends to agree: “I think that speaks to what the profession has become and what it’s all about, and with the money that people are being paid I guess it’s justified, I guess you could say its justified.”