Wisconsin said Tuesday that coach Gary Andersen was contacted by the Cleveland Browns for their coaching vacancy but decided not to pursue the position following a conversation with the NFL team.
The Browns hired coach Mike Pettine last month after a 25-day search. Pettine, Buffalo’s defensive coordinator, signed a five-year contract to replace Rob Chudzinski, fired after his lone season ended with a 4-12 record.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said he was kept informed throughout the brief process.
“I’m appreciative that Gary handled all of this the right way. He alerted me immediately that he had been contacted by the Browns and affirmed his commitment to the University of Wisconsin,” Alvarez said in a statement.
“When you have talented coaches on your roster, there will always be people who want to talk to them,” Alvarez said.
Andersen’s first year in Madison in 2013 was largely considered a success following a 9-4 season. Andersen agreed to a five-year deal worth $10 million with Wisconsin following a successful four-year stint at Utah State.
He made $1.8 million in 2013, and the contract called for $100,000 raises each of the next four years. The school recently extended his contract by a year, again calling for a $100,000 raise in the new final year.
A one-year extension after each season is typical at Wisconsin so long as that coach gets positive reviews by athletic department administrators.
A person familiar with the conversation told The Associated Press that the Browns initiated contact, and that the sides met for a couple hours while Andersen was on the road recruiting.