Anderson committed to Gophers but not ruling out other options

The Gophers baseball coach’s contract expired in June but rolled over for a year, and serious contract extension talks haven’t begun.

Baseball vs. Louisiana Tech

Daily File Photo

Baseball vs. Louisiana Tech

by John Hageman

Many people applauded Minnesota baseball head coach John Anderson for the GophersâÄô 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. âÄúAnytime youâÄôre recognized by peers, fellow coaches and your association, itâÄôs a special honor,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúBut all of the honors IâÄôve received throughout my career [are] a reflection of the program and the people within the program.âÄù 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. AndersonâÄôs 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 yearâÄôs notice before officially ending the contract, which it didnâÄôt. 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 didnâÄôt rule out the possibility of looking at other options if it the new job âÄúmet the criteriaâÄù he would be looking for. âÄúTo date, that opportunity hasnâÄôt presented itself and IâÄôm committed to the University of Minnesota like I have been for the last 30 years and IâÄôll continue to be,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúBut I donâÄôt think anyone can ever say, âÄònever, never.âÄô ThatâÄôs human nature.âÄù 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 âÄúwouldnâÄôt be surprising if Anderson and the Irish get into discussions before long.âÄù The Fighting Irish filled the spot with Mik Aoki on July 13 . âÄúAs long as the University wants me and I feel like I have the energy to continue to do this âĦ then IâÄôll continue to do it,âÄù Anderson said. âÄúBut if I feel like I canâÄôt give them any of the energy to do that any longer, then IâÄôll look at doing something else.âÄù ItâÄôs 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. âÄúThere are some bumps in the road and some challenges, but weâÄôre making some progress,âÄù Anderson said. âÄú[The Pohlad donation] has created some more interest and enthusiasm âĦ and gotten some more people involved that werenâÄôt even on our radar screen.âÄù