Gary Andersen was named Utah State head football coach on Dec. 9, 2018 by USU Athletics John Hartwell. Andersen, who was also USU's head coach for four seasons from 2009-12 and named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2012, will be the first of 27 coaches in school history to serve in that capacity multiple times.
In all, Andersen has been a Division I head coach for 10 years and brings 30 years of coaching experience with him back to Utah State. He has been involved in 12 bowl games, including four New Year's Day bowls.
During his career, Andersen was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award at Utah State in 2012, along with being named the WAC Coach of the Year, and a semifinalist for the Maxwell Coach of the Year Award (2013) and George Munger Coach of the Year Award (2013, 2014) at Wisconsin. He was also a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award at Utah in 2008, which is given to the top assistant in college football. As a head coach, he led Utah State to the 2012 WAC Championship and Wisconsin to the 2014 Big Ten Conference West Division title.
Academically, three of Andersen's teams finished in the top 10 nationally in Academic Progress Rate, in addition to 160 academic all-conference honorees.
During his four-year tenure with the Aggies from 2009-12, Andersen posted a 26-24 overall record, including the school's first back-to-back winning seasons (7-6 in 2011 and 11-2 in 2012) since 1979-80. He was also the first head coach since Phil Krueger (1973-75) to notch an overall winning record.
When initially hired on Dec. 4, 2008, Andersen inherited a football program that had suffered through 11-straight losing seasons and only had two winning campaigns in 28 years. Fast forward six years since his departure, and Andersen is inheriting a program that has now appeared in seven bowl games in the past eight years after playing in just four bowl games prior to his arrival.
In just his third year at Utah State, Andersen led the 2011 squad to its first bowl game in 14 years and the first Aggie team to win seven games since 1993. The following season, Andersen led USU to its best season ever with a school-record 11 wins, going undefeated in the WAC and capturing its first outright league title since 1936. USU also won just its second-ever bowl game that season with a 41-15 victory against Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. USU finished the 2012 campaign with an 11-2 record and is one of just two teams in school history, along with the 1961 club, to finish the season nationally ranked as it was 16th in the final Associated Press poll, 17th in the final Coaches poll and 23rd in the final BCS standings.
During his four years as Utah State's head coach, Andersen built an Aggie football program that set numerous school records, including wins (11), points scored (454), total offense (6,108 yards) and yards per game (469.8) in 2012, and touchdowns (60), rushing yards (3,675) and rushing touchdowns (37) in 2011. The 282.7 rushing yards per game in 2011 ranked sixth in the nation that year and are the second-most in school history. Furthermore, the 34.9 points per game scored in 2012 are the second-most in school history, while that team's defense allowed just 322.1 yards and 15.4 points per game, its fewest at USU since the 1960s. Furthermore, those 15.4 points allowed per game in 2012 ranked seventh nationally.
During his final two seasons at Utah State, Andersen led the Aggies to an 18-8 record, including an 11-2 conference mark.
While at Utah State, Andersen coached six All-Americans (Will Davis, Kerwynn Williams, Tyler Larsen, Nevin Lawson, Zach Vigil and Kyler Fackrell) and 10 Aggies who went on to have careers in the NFL, including current Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Furthermore, Andersen coached 27 players that earned various all-conference honors during his time in Logan, including running back Robert Turbin, who was named the WAC's Offensive Player of the Year in 2011 and has spent the past seven seasons in the NFL.
Andersen comes back to Utah State after spending the 2018 season as the associate head coach and defensive line coach at the University of Utah, where the Utes posted a 9-4 record and advanced to the Pac-12 Championship game after winning the Pac-12 South. At Utah this year, Andersen helped coach 10 defensive starters to all-conference honors, including all three of his starters on the defensive line.
In all, Andersen spent 12 years on staff at Utah during three different stints, including helping the Utes to undefeated seasons in 2004 and 2008 as they played in the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl, respectively. During his time at Utah, Andersen coached two All-Americans, two conference defensive Most Valuable Players, 22 first-team all-conference honorees and 16 NFL draft picks.
Following his four years as Utah State's head coach, Andersen spent two seasons as the head coach at the University of Wisconsin (2013-14) and three years as the head coach at Oregon State University (2015-17). At Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to a 19-7 record, a Big Ten divisional championship in 2014 and appearances in the Capital One Bowl and Outback Bowl.
During his two years at Wisconsin, Andersen coached five All-Americans and had seven players selected in the NFL Draft. In 2013, Chris Borland was named a first-team All-American, and the Big Ten Conference Linebacker and Defensive Player of the Year. In 2014, Andersen coached Melvin Gordon, the nation's leading rusher and scorer in 2014, to the Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year Award and a runner-up finish for the Heisman Trophy.
And at Oregon State, Andersen had three players drafted into the NFL in Isaac Seumalo, Sean Harlow and Treston Decoud and coached two Freshman All-Americans in Xavier Crawford and Gus Lavaka and 12 all-league player.
Andersen's coaching career began in 1988 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana, where he coached for one season before going to Ricks College from 1989-92 as the offensive line coach. His other coaching stints include Idaho State (1992-94, defensive line), Park City HS (1994-95, head coach) and Northern Arizona (1995-96, assistant head coach/defensive line/special teams). Andersen also spent the 2003 season as the head coach at Southern Utah.
A 1986 graduate of Utah, Andersen earned his bachelor's degree in political science. He played center for Utah from 1985-86 after garnering first-team juco All-America honors in 1984 at Ricks College.