SALT LAKE CITY — A decade after helping Utah to a 13-0 season and an upset win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Andy Ludwig is back for a second tenure as offensive coordinator for the Utes.
Ludwig returned to town Friday afternoon to begin his new duties. He spent the past four seasons at Vanderbilt.
“What I’m not looking for is a trip down memory lane. There’s a lot of work to do right now,” said Ludwig, who added that his first priority is winning this recruiting weekend and then whatever is scheduled after that.
Ludwig, who was Utah’s offensive coordinator from 2005-08, made it clear he doesn’t want to engage in a lot of conversations about the good old days.
“Because, hey man, this is a different place,” he said, noting all the changes that have taken place since the Utes moved from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12. That includes his now empty office at the Eccles Football Center.
Time is also a variable.
“You can’t stay the same in 10 years,” Ludwig continued. “Things are different now. The league is different. I’m different, Coach is different.”
As such, Ludwig is looking forward to the 2019 season and beyond.
“It’s great to have Andy back on our staff,” Whittingham said in the official announcement. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a collegiate offensive coordinator, as well as being an outstanding quarterbacks coach and recruiter. Andy is obviously very familiar with our program, which should make for a seamless transition.”
Ludwig replaces Troy Taylor, who left Utah after two seasons to become the head coach at Sacramento State. He inherits an offense that returns running back Zack Moss, quarterbacks Tyler Huntley and Jason Shelley, and receiver Britain Covey.
“My family and I are very excited to return to the University of Utah," Ludwig said in a statement released Friday morning. "I have great respect and appreciation for the university’s commitment to the student-athletes, Coach Whittingham’s leadership, and the passion of the Ute fan base. I look forward to the hard work and am grateful for this opportunity.”
Ludwig, a Bonneville High and Snow College graduate, has had an extensive coaching career.
Following early stints coaching wide receivers at his alma mater Portland State (1987-88) and then quarterbacks and receivers at Idaho State (1989-91), Ludwig spent 1992 as a graduate assistant at Utah. That was followed by stops as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks and receivers coach at Augustana University in South Dakota (1993-94) and two seasons as quarterbacks coach at Boise State (1995-96).
The following year Ludwig began a run of offensive coordinator positions that continues today. He called plays at Cal Poly (1997), Fresno State (1998-2001), Oregon (2002-04), Utah (2005-08), California (2009-10), San Diego State (2011-12), Wisconsin (2013-14) and Vanderbilt (2015-18).
When Ludwig left Utah after the 2009 Sugar Bowl, he initially took the offensive coordinator job at Kansas State, however, two months later he opted for the same post at Cal.
Upon leaving the Utes, who led the Mountain West Conference with 36.9 points per game his final season, Ludwig explained his decision to leave the program.
“I love living in Salt Lake City and I’m very fond of the University of Utah. I think very highly of the people I work for and with,” Ludwig said. “But I’ve got an opportunity to take care of my family a little bit more. So that was the catalyst of the decision.”
Whittingham, at the time, said he wanted to find a guy that would “come in and continue to do what we are already doing.” He added that they weren’t looking for someone to come in to try to retool the offense.
"I didn't want to lose Andy. We led the league in scoring this year and we've done some very nice things on offense," Whittingham said upon Ludwig’s departure more than a decade ago. "We certainly made a pitch to keep him in our camp. But ultimately we couldn't match what Kansas State was able to offer him."
During his first tenure as Utah’s offensive coordinator, Ludwig directed an attack that ranked among the national leaders in pass efficiency offense, scoring and total offense in 2005. The Utes were also among the top teams in passing offense the following season as well.
In 2007, Utah had the Mountain West Conference’s No. 2 rushing offense. The 2008 season featured the top scoring team in the league as the Utes went undefeated and capped things off with the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.83 comments on this story
At Wisconsin, Ludwig guided an offense that averaged more than 468 yards and 34 points per game over two seasons. Earlier in his career, he coached a Fresno State offense that featured a 4,000-yard passer (David Carr), two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher in a single season.
More recently, at Vanderbilt, Ludwig coached quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who became the school’s all-time leading passer with 8,865 yards and 64 touchdowns.
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Utah offensive coordinators under Whittingham
2017-18: Troy Taylor
2015-16: Jim Harding and Aaron Roderick
2014: Dave Christensen
2013: Dennis Erickson and Brian Johnson
2012: Brian Johnson
2011: Norm Chow
2010: Aaron Roderick and Dave Schramm
2009: Dave Schramm
2005-08: Andy Ludwig