U baseball coach Anderson signs two-year contract extension

·3 min read

John Anderson has coached the Gophers baseball team since the fall of 1981, and he'll be in charge of the program for at least two more seasons.

Anderson on Wednesday said he has signed a two-year contract extension, through the 2023-24 season, a deal that is pending final approval. His current five-year contract, paying an annual base salary of $225,000, began in July 2016 and was set to expire June 30.

"Basically, it's a two-year extension to my current contract,'' Anderson said. "… Right now, as long as I can have a two-year contract going forward — and there's an opportunity after six months of the first year where we can find out if we want to add the next year back in there so it's always a two-year contract.''

Anderson, who turned 66 in May, wanted the flexibility that the shorter contract provides. "I think at my age, I'll know when it's time to go,'' he said. "I don't want to stay too long; I've seen people stay too long. I don't want to mislead people, and to have a five-year contract right now, I don't think that necessary. I'm not going to stay if I don't have the energy and the passion and what it takes to give the kids the experience they deserve.''

In his 40 years as Gophers coach, Anderson has compiled a 1,325-897-3 record, the most overall wins and Big Ten wins for anyone coaching at a Big Ten school and second most among active Division I coaches. His teams have won 11 Big Ten regular-season titles, 10 conference tournament titles and have made 19 NCAA tournament appearances.

The past two seasons, however, have been a struggle for various reasons, COVID-19 being the biggest. The Gophers started 8-10 in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports. This season, Minnesota endured injury issues, particularly to the pitching staff, and went 6-31 on the way to a last-place finish in the Big Ten.

"There were a lot of forces at play, and unfortunately it was a perfect storm and a lot of things happened,'' he said. "The biggest thing for me was a loss of development time from the time it ended in March of 2020 to having a very limited fall time and all of the challenges of the spring and being shut down again for 20 days.''

Before the recent struggles, the Gophers had reached a high point in 2018, winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles, winning an NCAA regional at Siebert Field and advancing to their first NCAA super regional.

"I don't think we forgot how to coach,'' said Anderson, whose team went 37-13 in 2018. "… This is a school in the North, and we have to be really good at player development. That takes time, and when we lose a year-and-a-half cycle like we did, it takes time.''

Anderson is eager to return the program to the success to which it's accustomed.

"I'd like to get through this last 15 months here, get our program reset and get our rudder back in the water and pointed in the right direction,'' he said.

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