Anderson ponders University’s commitment to baseball team

Brian Hall

After 20 years at Minnesota, baseball head coach John Anderson is still looking for his first trip to the College World Series.

While the search continues for the 46 year-old Anderson, the team he tries leading might soon change.

Last weekend Anderson visited Athens, Ga. and interviewed for the vacant head coaching position at the University of Georgia.

“I interviewed with the search committee and the athletics director there, Vince Dooley,” Anderson said. “They are interviewing three other candidates and supposedly at some point during the latter part of this week they will most likely offer the job to one of us.”

Georgia baseball sports information director George Lakos confirmed Anderson had interviewed for the position, but said there is no specific timetable for making a decision.

Working without a contract for the past year, Anderson is concerned about the direction of the Gophers program and questions the commitment of the administration.

“I’m trying to get a vision for what the future is – where we are headed, what we’re going to do here in our baseball program; are we going to build a new facility,” Anderson said. “I think we’ve done that in other sports here, through the support football, basketball, hockey, and volleyball have received. I think it’s been clearly defined. They’re paying those people at levels to produce national success.”

During his regime at the University, Anderson has seen many new coaches come in and receive financial backing, all while he continues to put national title contenders on the field.

Anderson’s Gophers earned berths at the national tournament in 12 of his 20 seasons.

“Sometimes it does get frustrating when you see other people arrive on the scene and they’re given the resources immediately and the facilities and the compensation before they’ve produced,” Anderson said.

Anderson is looking at the Georgia position as a career opportunity, stating the Bulldogs have an elite program and the resources to compete for a national title. He wants to pursue the dream of capturing a national title – something he’s unsure he would be able to do at Minnesota.

“They hosted regionals and super-regionals,” Anderson said. “They have great talent in the state, and they have some advantages there that you don’t have in the north.”

Anderson said he and Georgia never discussed compensation, but believes hiring a coach and taking him away from another program would merit current market value.

According to men’s athletics director Tom Moe, Minnesota plans to do everything possible to keep Anderson at the University.

“It would be a real blow to the program,” Moe said. “He is one of the best coaches in college baseball and I want to keep him here. He runs a great program.”

The opportunity to interview with Georgia is not a bargaining chip Anderson is using in his negotiations with the Minnesota administration. One of the most successful coaches in college baseball over the past two decades, Anderson just wants to be treated as such.

“I’m not interviewing for this job because I’m trying to get more from Minnesota,” Anderson said. “I don’t think Minnesota is going to be able to match Georgia if they offer me the job. It’s a respect issue for me more than anything else. It’s never been a compensation issue.”

 

Brian Hall welcomes comments at [email protected].