Utah State's Andersen reportedly on his way to Madison to become next football coachWisconsin Sports
-- Utah State head coach Gary Andersen will reportedly be Wisconsin’s next coach.
MAISON - Utah State head coach Gary Andersen will reportedly be Wisconsin’s next coach. The Wisconsin State Journal first reported that the 48-year-old Andersen has accepted an offer from athletic director Barry Alvarez. Other media have since confirmed the report.
But the UW-Madison cannot make it official until at least tomorrow, because the job is still being posted through today under state government employment rules.
Andersen will replace Bret Bielema, who suddenly left for Arkansas 15 days ago. Most of Bielema’s assistants also plan to move on after the Rose Bowl – and the media reports say Andersen will bring most of his assistants to Madison. He has spent four years as the head of a Utah State team that just barely lost to the Badgers 16-14 in Madison in mid-September. It was one of just two losses for the 18th-ranked Aggies against 11 wins – including a 41-15 rout of Toledo at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last Saturday in Boise. Andersen is considered a defensive specialist whose Utah State teams ran a spread offense – and he reportedly impressed Alvarez with his credentials during an interview on Monday.
Andersen’s team had the eighth-best scoring defense in the nation this year, giving up less than 15-and-a-half points per game – and they were 15th in total defense, surrendering 322 yards per contest. Before becoming the head coach with the Aggies, Andersen spent five years as a defensive assistant coach at Utah under Kyle Whittingham and Urban Meyer. Two months ago, Andersen had signed a contract extension to stay at Utah State through 2018 for about 765-thousand dollars a year, including incentives. Bielema made around two-and-a-half million at Madison, including his salary and pay from boosters and outside activities.
It appears that Utah State’s fans and reporters were just as surprised as Wisconsin fans when their coach decided to leave town. Gary Andersen, the head coach at Utah State for the last four years, has reportedly accepted the vacant coaching job in Madison. And the news appeared to come out of nowhere – just as Bret Bielema’s sudden resignation from the UW 15 days ago to become the new coach at Arkansas. Wade Denniston of the Logan Herald Journal in Utah said he was shocked to hear the news. And it caught him off guard to see Andersen go just two months after he took a long-term contract extension through 2018. Salt Lake City sports radio program director Kevin Graham said he was surprised to see Andersen leave, after he turned down recent offers to coach at Kentucky, California, and Colorado. Denniston told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Badger fans can expect a dedicated, passionate, energetic coach who will do things the right way and put an exciting brand of football on the field. Denniston said Andersen’s teams are tough-minded and physical. Graham said Wisconsin is one of the best jobs in the country and quote, “Most fans realize he had to take it.” It cannot officially be announced until at least tomorrow, because the state’s job application process dictates that the post be open through a two-week period that ends today.