Anderson committed to Gophers but not ruling out other options

By John Hageman

Many people applauded Minnesota baseball head coach John Anderson for the Gophers’ success last season, and last Wednesday he received some praise from his peers as well.

The American Baseball Coaches Association named Anderson the Mideast Coach of the Year after he led the Gophers to a Big Ten championship and an appearance in the NCAA regional qualifiers. Anderson was also named Big Ten Coach of the Year in May for the sixth time in his career.

“Anytime you’re recognized by peers, fellow coaches and your association, it’s a special honor,” Anderson said. “But all of the honors I’ve received throughout my career [are] a reflection of the program and the people within the program.”

While Anderson continues to add to a long list of accolades during his career, some have speculated that career may not end at the University of Minnesota.

Anderson’s five-year contract expired June 30, but continues to roll over automatically each year until one side notifies the other that they wish to part ways. The University would need to give Anderson a year’s notice before officially ending the contract, which it didn’t. Anderson agreed to take a 1.15 percent pay cut, standard for University employees, on his $139,000 salary.

Anderson said some talks about creating a new long-term contract have taken place, but nothing is likely to happen until the financial climate at the University and the state clears up. Anderson added that his goal is to finish his career in Minnesota, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of looking at other options if it the new job “met the criteria” he would be looking for.

“To date, that opportunity hasn’t presented itself and I’m committed to the University of Minnesota like I have been for the last 30 years and I’ll continue to be,” Anderson said. “But I don’t think anyone can ever say, ‘never, never.’ That’s human nature.”

Earlier this month, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Charley Walters surmised that Anderson was possibly a candidate for the vacant head coaching job at Notre Dame, saying it “wouldn’t be surprising if Anderson and the Irish get into discussions before long.” The Fighting Irish filled the spot with Mik Aoki on July 13 .

“As long as the University wants me and I feel like I have the energy to continue to do this … then I’ll continue to do it,” Anderson said. “But if I feel like I can’t give them any of the energy to do that any longer, then I’ll look at doing something else.”

It’s likely that Anderson would want to stick around long enough to see a new baseball field to replace the 39-year-old Siebert Field, which he has championed. The University hopes to begin construction next spring.

In May, the program received a $2 million donation from the Pohlad Family Foundation, which brought the total raised to $3.5 million of the $7.5 million needed to begin construction . Anderson said the total amount currently raised is somewhere around $4 million, but added that the program is focusing its attention on gaining another large donation of $1 million or more.

“There are some bumps in the road and some challenges, but we’re making some progress,” Anderson said. “[The Pohlad donation] has created some more interest and enthusiasm … and gotten some more people involved that weren’t even on our radar screen.”

Read more here:
Copyright 2019 Minnesota Daily