Anderson to coach Utah State

By Chris Kamrani, Asst Sports Editor

The Utah State Aggies have found their man. He’s a Utah man.

Defensive coordinator Gary Andersen, who has been with the Utes since 2005, has accepted the head coaching position at Utah State. During his run at the U, Andersen has been the defensive coordinator, defensive line coach and a top assistant to head coach Kyle Whittingham.

“Gary has been instrumental to our success here at Utah,” Whittingham said. “We want to thank him for his hard work and dedication to the University of Utah football program and we wish him well in his head coaching career.”

Andersen was named as a top five finalist for the annual Broyles Award this season, which is given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

His job as a defensive coordinator left nothing to be desired during his tenure with the Utes. He guided and molded a talented squad into the No. 18 defense in the nation, which is also No. 13 in overall scoring defense.

Andersen, the 26th coach in 115 years of Aggie football, has a large mountain to climb in Logan. The Aggies have yet to field a winning team this century.

Former head coach Brent Guy was axed after going a dismal 9-38 in his four seasons at Utah State, including 8-24 against the fellow Western Athletic Conference schools.

“It’s a great opportunity and it’s been a longtime goal of mine to be a Division-I head football coach,” Andersen said in his acceptance statement. “I think every football coach has a niche as to where they want be a head coach and where they belong. I feel that Utah State is a perfect fit for my niche and what I believe in.”

With Andersen’s departure, not only are the Utes losing one of the top defensive minds in the nation, but also their best in-state recruiter to an in-state rival. Andersen has been behind recruiting the likes of Bradon Godfrey, Mike Wright and the Kruger brothers that will officially be made a threesome next season as the youngest Kruger, Joe, will bring his monstrous game to Utah.

This won’t be Andersen’s first go-around as a head coach. Andersen was the head coach at Southern Utah University in 2003. With him on that staff in Cedar City, and now at Utah, were wide receivers coach Aaron Roderick and linebackers coach Kalani Sitake. There has not been an official announcement yet, but both The Salt Lake Tribune the Deseret News has reported that Andersen could be taking the two to Logan as his offensive and defensive coordinators.

Any way you slice it, the Utes are going to another Bowl Championship Series game, and just as in 2004, they are losing an integral part of the coaching staff. It is still unclear whether Andersen will be coaching the defense in Utah’s bowl game.

“Without a doubt, Utah State has all the tools needed to recruit quality student athletes socially, academically and athletically,” Andersen said in his statement. “These tools will allow us to build a successful program and continue the success that Utah State provides not just for football but for life for our players, as well as my staff, my family and myself.”

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