We have learned that Utah State head coach Gary Andersen has left for the same position at Wisconsin. Andersen steps in for Bret Bielema, who departed earlier this month for Arkansas.
Andersen, 48, comes to Wisconsin after executing one of the biggest turnarounds in college football in four years at Utah State. The Aggies just completed an 11-2 campaign in which the only setbacks were a 6-3 defeat at BYU and a 16-14 loss to Andersen’s new team at Camp Randall Stadium. Andersen helped Utah State win the WAC title this fall and, in 2011, the Aggies finished 7-6 and appeared in the program’s first bowl game in nearly 15 years. Andersen led Utah State to a 26-24 record in his four seasons at the helm, a major turnaround for a program that went 9-38 in the four years prior to his arrival.
A Utah native, Andersen has spent the vast majority of his life in the Beehive State, and none of it in the Midwest. He attended Ricks College (now known as BYU – Idaho) and coached at Southeastern Louisiana, Idaho State, Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and also spent 11 years in two different stints at Utah, including the last four as the defensive coordinator.
Andersen inherits a team preparing for its third consecutive Rose Bowl berth, whose strengths mirror that of his Utah State team. The Aggies ranked 25th nationally in rushing offense and in the top 15 of every major defensive statistic, while Wisconsin places 12th nationally in rushing offense and 21st or better in every major defensive metric.
As always, we will update with more details as they become available.