The first head coaching vacancy at a Power 5 program in the 2017 college football season opened on Monday, as Oregon State and coach Gary Andersen agreed to mutually part ways. Assistant Cory Hall will take over as the interim coach for the remainder of the 2017 season. Oregon State is 1-5 after six games and closes out the season with six consecutive contests against Pac-12 foes.
Andersen came to Corvallis after two years at Wisconsin and was previously Utah State's head coach (2009-12) as well. During his stint with the Badgers, Andersen went 19-7 and guided the program to a Big Ten title game appearance in 2014. Andersen was 7-23 during his stint leading the Beavers.
Oregon State isn’t an easy job – it’s one of the toughest in the Power 5 ranks. Who might replace Andersen at Oregon State? Here are some names to watch.
5 Potential Replacements for Gary Andersen at Oregon State
Beau Baldwin, offensive coordinator, California
Baldwin is in his first season as California’s offensive coordinator, joining Justin Wilcox’s staff in Berkeley after a successful stint as Eastern Washington's head coach from 2008-16. In his stint with the Eagles, Baldwin went 85-32 as a head coach, claimed the 2010 FCS title and led the program to six playoff appearances. Prior to the job at Eastern Washington, Baldwin worked as Central Washington’s head coach for one year (2007).
Craig Bohl, head coach, Wyoming
Bohl inherited a Wyoming program in need of repair and has brought steady improvement over the last four seasons. The Cowboys are 17-26 under his watch, including an 8-6 record and Mountain West Mountain Division title in 2016. Prior to taking over at Wyoming, Bohl was the head coach at North Dakota State from 2003-13 and transformed the program into a FCS powerhouse. Bohl went 104-32 with the Bison and guided the program to three consecutive national titles (2011-13).
Troy Calhoun, head coach, Air Force
Calhoun – a former quarterback at Air Force – has won 78 games since taking over as the program’s head coach in 2007. The Falcons won 10 games in 2014 and again in '16 and have only missed out on a bowl game once during Calhoun’s tenure. Air Force is off to a slow (1-4) start this year, largely due to the significant turnover in personnel from the 2016 season. Calhoun also has previous stints on his resume as an assistant in the NFL with the Broncos and Texans, as well as time at Wake Forest and Ohio.
Alex Grinch, defensive coordinator, Washington State
Grinch is one of the Pac-12’s rising stars in the assistant coach ranks. The Ohio native was a relative unknown when he took over the play-calling duties for Washington State’s defense in 2015. However, under Grinch’s direction, the Cougars have made significant strides on defense. This unit was instrumental in the upset over USC and ranks second in the Pac-12 by limiting opponents to 4.5 yards per play in 2017. Prior to working with Mike Leach at Washington State, Grinch was an assistant under Gary Pinkel at Missouri (2012-14) and also worked at Wyoming (2009-11) and New Hampshire (2005-08). He played his college ball at the ultra-successful Division III program Mount Union from 1998-2001.
Jonathan Smith, offensive coordinator, Washington
Smith was a prolific quarterback for Oregon State in his playing career and was instrumental in leading the Beavers to an 11-1 record in 2001. After his playing career ended, Smith joined Oregon State as a graduate assistant in 2002-03 and coached quarterbacks at Idaho from '04-09. He called the plays for Montana in 2010-11, before joining Chris Petersen’s staff at Boise State in '12-13 as a quarterbacks coach. Smith followed Petersen to Washington and was tabbed as the program’s offensive coordinator after his hire prior to the 2014 season. The Huskies led the Pac-12 by averaging 41.8 points per game in 2016 and are tied for first through the six weeks of this season with an average of 43 points per contest.