MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen confirmed a report Tuesday that he recently interviewed for the vacant Cleveland Browns head coaching position,
"Officials from the Cleveland Browns contacted me to talk about their head coaching vacancy," Andersen said in a statement released by the athletic department. "After our initial conversation, I decided not to pursue the position. I am committed to the University of Wisconsin and the student-athletes in our program. I love the city of Madison and am grateful for all the support from Badgers fans around the state and around the country. I look forward to the start of spring football in a couple weeks and turning the focus to preparing for 2014."
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier Tuesday that Andersen had "secretly interviewed" with the Browns. Cleveland hired former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on Jan. 23.
Andersen, who recently wrapped up his second recruiting class at Wisconsin, finished 9-4 in his first season in Madison. The university athletic board last month also approved a one-year contract extension for him through 2019. He is scheduled to make $1.9 million this season, and his contract will increase by $100,000 in each subsequent season.
"I’m appreciative that Gary handled all of this the right way," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a release. "He alerted me immediately that he had been contacted by the Browns and affirmed his commitment to the University of Wisconsin. When you have talented coaches on your roster, there will always be people who want to talk to them. I think that Gary is one of the top coaches in the country and am glad that he is leading our team."