The Associated Press
James Snook / USA TODAY Sports
When Gary Andersen abruptly left Oregon State earlier this week, he offered some advice to his interim successor.
”Be yourself,” Andersen told Beavers cornerbacks coach Cory Hall.
And with that, Hall took over at Oregon State. The 40-year-old former assistant will make his head coaching debut on Saturday when the Beavers (1-5, 0-3) host Colorado (3-3, 0-3) at Reser Stadium.
”Just ‘Be yourself,’ that’s exactly what he told me,” Hall said. ”`Be yourself and everything else will take care of itself.’ He left me in good hands, he really did, and I have a lot to thank him for.”
Oregon State announced Monday that the university and Andersen had agreed to part ways after a disappointing first half of the season. The Beavers did not have a victory over an FBS-level opponent.
Andersen and the school ”agreed to release each other from all future contract obligations and payments.” Andersen’s contract had been extended after last season and ran through the 2021 season. He was due to make $2.65 million this season and had he been fired without cause he would have been due about $12 million.
”After many discussions with Scott (Barnes, athletic director), waiving my contract is the correct decision and enables the young men and the program to move forward and concentrate on the rest of this season,” Andersen said in a statement released by the university.
Hall emphasized family in his first address to the team as head coach.
”We’re a family. We are one big family and we’re going to stay tight no matter what happens,” Hall said he told the Beavers. ”We’re going to be competitive. We’re going to do this for coach Andersen. We’re going to do this for each other.”
In the wake of Andersen’s unexpected departure, The Oregonian newspaper reported that he had become increasingly frustrated as the season wore on. In a series of text messages to columnist John Canzano , Andersen targeted his coaching staff before ultimately taking responsibility himself.
”Riot act has been read to this staff. We shall see what takes place. I have got to see better football regardless of who we are playing!!” he texted on Sept. 24.
On Oct. 1 he seemed resigned to what he was facing this season: ”My plan won’t change. Coach my (expletive) off for these kids seven more times!! They will get all I got!! … I will grind for these fans they deserve that!!!” he texted.
Later that week, the Beavers fell to USC 38-10 in Los Angeles. On Sunday night, Andersen and Barnes decided it was time to move on, Barnes said.
Andersen was in his third season with the Beavers and the team appeared to be sliding backward after showing some progress in winning four games last year, including a victory against rival Oregon that snapped an eight-game losing streak in the Civil War series for the Beavers. He finished 7-23 at Oregon State.
Barnes said a national search for a permanent head coach will start immediately.
Hall is a native of Bakersfield, California, and he played defensive back for Fresno State from 1995-98 before a six-year career in the NFL playing for the Bengals and the Falcons.
He was a graduate assistant on defense for Wisconsin in 2014 under Andersen then went to Weber State as secondary coach for 2015. He rejoined Andersen at Oregon State last season.
”I’ve been thrust into a role and I’m kind of learning on the fly,” Hall said. ”But at the end of the day it’s football, it’s coaching.”