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John Anderson, longtime Gopher baseball coach, to retire after 43 years

Long time Gopher Baseball coach, John Anderson, retires.
Long time Gopher Baseball coach, John Anderson, retires. 02:30

MINNEAPOLIS — Longtime University of Minnesota baseball coach John Anderson will retire at the end of the 2024 season. 

He first arrived on the U of M campus to play for Dick Siebert in 1974. George Thomas took over for Siebert and recommended Anderson, who was 26 at the time, to take his place in 1982. 

The Gophers won the Big Ten title that first season, and kept winning under Andreson, but what changed for him was 10 years into his tenure, when success was not satisfying enough.

"You know I had to really sit down and ask myself 'why do you coach? Why do you do this?'" Anderson recalled.

So he changed, so that his players were not products, but people. 


"Turn them into men that go out into the world and be independent critical thinkers and make good decisions," he said. 

Ty McDevitt played for Anderson and then became his pitching coach because of him. 

"He taught me that I was a lot more than that. That there was a lot more to me, that I brought a lot more to the table than my ERA or how many runs I gave up or didn't give up," McDevitt said.

Most of the 43 yeras spent side by side with assistant coach Rob Fournasiere.

"I will tell you very honestly, John was very much a CEO type, he was a good manager, over the top, and he let his employees do their jobs," Fournasiere said.

That allowed Anderson to do what he really wanted to do: build a program and develop young men.

"I guess I always wanted to be a servant leader, I wanted to help other people get out of their own way so that they could become the best version of themselves," Siebert said. "If we've done that, then it's all worth it."

That's why the loyal following of Gopher fans turns out this season, because they understand what he's done.

"I think the environment you create, the servant leadership piece, your interest in people and the relationship piece, not just as baseball players but as people," he said. "Then the trust thing gets put in play, and now you can impact them in terms of making changes and adjustments to their baseball piece, because they trust you."

He led the way to build a new Siebert Field, complete with a statue that honors one of his mentors. Anderson's jersey number — 14 —was retired earlier this season. He led the Gophers for 43 years, and is the longest-tenured coach in the history of Gopher athletics.

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