Utah State’s Andersen is Wisconsin’s next coach

first_imgUtah State head coach Gary Andersen led the Aggies to an 11-2 record and Idaho Potato Bowl win in 2012, one of the best seasons in school history.Utah State’s Gary Andersen will be the next head coach of the Wisconsin football program, according to an initial report from the Wisconsin State Journal Tuesday night that was later confirmed by several other reports and Utah State players via Twitter. News broke earlier Tuesday that Andersen – who had not previously been linked to UW’s head coaching vacancy – had already interviewed for the job. Andersen is in his fourth year leading the Aggies and is fresh off a 41-15 victory over Toledo in the Idaho Potato Bowl Dec. 15 that improved No. 18 Utah State’s record to 11-2 record on the year.The Salt Lake Tribune later reported that Andersen started informing his players he was heading for Wisconsin Tuesday night. According to the Tribune, Utah State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and offensive coordinator Matt Wells are both likely to follow Andersen to Madison, but Wells may be a candidate to succeed his boss in Logan. Ironically, Cal reportedly offered Aranda its defensive coordinator spot before he turned it down and UW linebackers coach accepted the position with the Bears. Wells also apparently earned an offer for the offensive coordinator job at N.C. State before Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada took that job on former UW defensive coordinator Dave Doeren’s staff. Andersen will also pry away second-year defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a – who coached the Aggies’ defensive line from 2009-10 – from Utah to join him with the Badgers, according to multiple reports. Utah State went undefeated (6-0) in the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 and took home the conference title, with the rout of Toledo marking the program’s first bowl win in 19 years. One of the best seasons in Aggies history, it marked the first time in over 50 years that Utah State finished the season ranked in the AP Top 25.Andersen’s name comes as a surprise partially because the 48-year-old has no clear ties to the Big Ten or even the Midwest. He played at Utah in the mid-’80s before serving as the Utes’ defensive coordinator from 2004-2008 and spent a year as the head coach at Southern Utah in 2003.The offense he ran in Logan, Utah, is also a far cry from the Badgers’ run-heavy, pro-style attack as dual-threat quarterback Chuckie Keeton led a spread-type system in 2012.Andersen visited Madison earlier this fall when Utah State nearly pulled off an upset over the Badgers Sept. 15, but the Aggies missed a potential game-winning field goal and allowed UW to escape with a 16-14 win.His only two losses this season came by a combined five points against Wisconsin and BYU. In his four years at Utah State he collected a 26-22 record and was rumored as a candidate for recent openings at Colorado, California and Kentucky.In the four years before he arrived, Utah State won a total of just nine games. The Aggies would made modest improvements in his first two years with back-to-back four-win seasons in 2009 and 2010, before Andersen started turning the program around. In 2011 Utah State finished 7-6 and lost in the Idaho Potato Bowl, the school’s first appearance in a bowl game in 14 years. Athletic Director Barry Alvarez said he had interviewed two candidates Sunday evening, one of them believed to be Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator and former Badger defensive back Mel Tucker. Tucker seemed to have his sights set on a head coaching job in the NFL, but it is not clear if Alvarez ever offered him the job.Many Wisconsin fans were growing anxious as the coaching search lingered on for two weeks with no clear leading candidate after Bret Bielema left the Badgers for the same position at Arkansas Dec. 4. The deadline to apply for Wisconsin’s head coaching job is tomorrow, so Alvarez could make an official announcement on who Bielema’s successor will be very soon. In accordance with state law, the university had to keep the application process open for two weeks.At Utah, Andersen served as defensive coordinator under Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer for a season before spending four more years under current Utes coach Kyle Whittingham. In his final year on Whittingham’s staff in 2008, Andersen helped guide the Utah to an undefeated 13-0 record that included a victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and a No. 2 ranking at season’s end.For more updates on the Wisconsin coaching situation, follow @BHeraldSports on TwitterFollow Ian on Twitterlast_img

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