MADISON, WI (WSAU)Utah State head coach Gary Andersen will reportedly be Wisconsin’s next coach. The Wisconsin State Journal first reported that the 48-year-old Andersen has accepted an offer from athletic director Barry Alvarez.
Other media have since confirmed the report. But the U-W cannot make it official until at least tomorrow, because the job is still being posted through today under state government employment rules.
Andersen will replace Bret Bielema, who suddenly left for Arkansas 15 days ago. Most of Bielema’s assistants also plan to move on after the Rose Bowl – and the media reports say Andersen will bring most of his assistants to Madison.
He has spent four years as the head of a Utah State team that just barely lost to the Badgers 16-to-14 in Madison in mid-September. It was one of just two losses for the 18th-ranked Aggies against 11 wins – including a 41-15 rout of Toledo at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last Saturday in Boise.
Andersen is considered a defensive specialist whose Utah State teams ran a spread offense – and he reportedly impressed Alvarez with his credentials during an interview on Monday. Andersen’s team had the eighth-best scoring defense in the nation this year, giving up less than 15-and-a-half points per game – and they were 15th in total defense, surrendering 322 yards per contest.
Before becoming the head coach with the Aggies, Andersen spent five years as a defensive assistant coach at Utah under Kyle Whittingham and Urban Meyer. Two months ago, Andersen had signed a contract extension to stay at Utah State through 2018 for about 765-thousand dollars a year, including incentives. Bielema made around two-and-a-half million at Madison, including his salary and pay from boosters and outside activities.