“I’m wearing the interim tag, but I’m a head coach nonetheless,” Hall said in a news conference in Corvallis. “I’m going to assume the responsibility to go in and get our team prepared.”
The Beavers of the Pac-12 needed a leader after agreeing to part ways with Gary Andersen just three seasons into his tenure. Oregon State is 1-5 after a 38-10 loss to USC. Next up is a home game Saturday against Colorado.
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Hall, 40, played three seasons at Fresno State (1996-98, spanning Jim Sweeney’s last year and Pat Hill’s first two years as Bulldogs coach) and then played six seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals.
He has made a quick run up the college leader since leaving Clovis North to join Andersen’s Wisconsin staff as a graduate assistant in 2014.
Hall was Weber State’s secondary coach in 2015 and then rejoined Andersen at Oregon State last season as the cornerbacks coach.
Hall, a Bakersfield native, returned to Fresno in 2008 looking for a job on Hill’s Fresno State staff. Nothing was open, so he spent time as a head coach in the middle school and high school freshman and JV ranks before he was named interim head coach at Clovis North in March 2011 (replacing the legendary Tim Simons, who resigned because of health reasons).
Hall led the Broncos to a Central Section title in 2011 in Division II, was named permanent head coach after that season and led the program to another title in 2012, this time in Division I. Clovis North finished runner-up in 2013 and was 32-7 in three seasons under Hall, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
The Fresno State ties to Monday’s move run much deeper than just Hall.
Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes, a Fresno State basketball standout under legendary coach Boyd Grant, made the switch.
And some critics have argued that Andersen fumbled a move at the quarterback position this summer when he named Jake Luton as the Beavers’ starter over ex-Dinuba High star Marcus McMaryion, who had started the final six games of 2016 highlighted by wins over Arizona and Oregon. McMaryion transferred to Fresno State and is now the Bulldogs’ starter.
Oregon State said Andersen, 53, and the school “agreed to release each other from all future contract obligations and payments.” Andersen’s contract had been extended after last season and ran through the 2021 season. He was due to make $2.65 million this season and had he been fired without cause he would have been due about $12 million.
Andersen finished 7-23 at Oregon State but last season’s four-win season, highlighted by the win over Oregon that snapped an eight-game losing streak in the Civil War series, was considered an upswing.
He replaced a popular coach in Mike Riley in what many considered an odd move, leaving a big-time program at Wisconson of the Big Ten for a lesser program in the Pac-12. Andersen went 19-7 with the Badgers but cited frustration with Wisconsin’s admission policies and standards for jumping ship.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.