LOGAN — Utah State announced that Utah assistant head football coach Gary Andersen is returning to his old job as head coach of the Aggies on Sunday.
"Stacey and I are thrilled to be back at Utah State University," said Andersen in a press release. "This is a special place, and we are excited to meet these young men and play a part in seeing them succeed off and on the field academically, socially and athletically.
"We are grateful to reconnect with many great friends and supporters in Logan and want to thank John Hartwell and President (Noelle) Cockett for the opportunity. Go Aggies!"
Andersen was the head coach for Utah State from 2009 to 2012 with a record of 26-24. While the Aggies went 4-8 in his first two years in Logan, he broke a 14-year bowl-less streak in 2011. In his final season at Utah State, the Aggies won 11 games and finished ranked No. 16 in the AP poll. Given Utah State's struggles in the years and even decades before he came to Logan, Andersen's accomplishments there were nothing short of extraordinary.
"We welcome Gary and Stacey and their family back to the Utah State family," said Jon Hartwell, Vice President and Director of Athletics of Utah State also said in the release. "His care-factor for his players, coupled with his recruiting philosophy and plan to win, are keys to the continued success of Aggie football. His knowledge of the state of Utah and our program are unparalleled and we feel those attributes will greatly aid in the continued growth and success of Aggie football."
Wisconsin was clearly impressed with what he did in Logan as they hired Andersen to be their next head coach, and he seemed to do well in Madison for the two seasons he spent there. He went 20-7 and the Badgers finished in the top 25 both seasons. His team even won the Big Ten West in 2014.
Then, Andersen suddenly left Madison before even the bowl game was played. He shocked the college football world by leaving one of the most successful powerhouses for Oregon State.
Unfortunately, things didn't go well for Andersen in Corvallis. He went 7-23 during his time with the Beavers. After just two and a half seasons, Oregon State and Andersen agreed mutually to part ways during the 2017 season. Andersen reportedly left behind about $12 million that was still part of his contract.
After that, Andersen's homecoming to the state of Utah began as he took the assistant head coach job at Utah under Kyle Whittingham. That's the same position he held a decade ago before becoming the head coach at Utah State. He's been a part of the coaching staff that just won a Pac-12 South Division title this season.
Now, things have come full circle.37 comments on this story
"Gary clearly knows football and the blueprint for success at Utah State. He is dedicated to the success of his student-athletes in the classroom, on the field of play and in life after football," Utah State President Noelle Cockett said. "Gary's energy and enthusiasm will benefit the football program, athletics department and University, and as importantly, the Aggie fanbase across Cache Valley and beyond."
Andersen replaces Matt Wells, who accepted the head coaching job at Texas Tech just last week. Wells went 44-34 in Logan and has done well to keep up the tradition of winning that Andersen established. Wells was Andersen's offensive coordinator the last time he was the head coach at Utah State.