Gary Andersen has had one of the more strange careers for a successful college football coach in some time.
The 54-year old Utahn left Utah State for Wisconsin after the 2012 season, when Bret Bielema departed the Badgers for the Arkansas job.
He was 20-7 in two years at UW, with a 13-3 mark in Big Ten play and a Big Ten West title in 2014, and then made the very strange jump to Oregon State, one of the most difficult jobs in the Pac-12.
It has been suggested that Andersen wasn’t comfortable with some of the recruiting restrictions at Wisconsin, and he might’ve been more comfortable out West. Still, he only last about two-and-a-half seasons with the Beavers.
Mid-way through year three, with a 1-5 record, Oregon State and Andersen mutually decided to part ways. He agreed to be released from a costly buyout as well, as his contract ran through 2021.
After a year on staff at his alma mater Utah, Gary Andersen will reportedly take over Utah State football once again.
It has been rumored for a few days, after his successor Matt Wells took the job at Texas Tech. Now, it is almost official.
From the Herald Journal:
Former USU head coach Gary Andersen is coming back to Cache Valley. Two sources confirmed with the Herald Journal on Saturday afternoon Andersen will once again be taking over the Aggie helm. An official announcement will likely take place Sunday.
Andersen will be the first repeat USU head coach on the gridiron in the history of the program. The Salt Lake City native was instrumental in the Aggies turning a corner in the early-2010s. USU went 26-24 during Andersen’s four seasons at the helm from 2009-2012, and he led the Aggies to back-to-back bowl appearances before taking the head coaching job at Big 10 Conference power Wisconsin.
Earlier today, reports came out that Utah State boosters had “taken over” the coaching search. College football insider Bruce Feldman said that the Aggies coaching search situation had gotten messy.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 8, 2018
Andersen was 26-24 at Utah State, but finished on an extremely high note. After a 7-6 season in year three, his Aggies went 11-2 in 2012, and made a second-straight trip to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Aggies finished that season ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll and No. 17 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Wells leaves Andersen a 10-2 football team with one of the best defenses in the Group of Five, and a program that has gone to five bowls in six years. Even with the controversy, Andersen has the chance to continue the sustained success that he helped establish in Logan.