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December 18, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - Utah State head football coach Gary Andersen is set to replace Bret Bielema at Wisconsin, according to a report by the Wisconsin State Journal.
Andersen spent the last four seasons at Utah State, and led the Aggies to two straight bowl games over the last two years. The No. 18 Aggies finished the 2012 season at 11-2 with a win over Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, with one of those losses coming to Bielema and the Badgers in September at Camp Randall stadium.
Andersen previously worked as Utah's assistant head coach, defensive coordinator, and defensive line coach from 2004 to 2008, where he helped guide the Utes to a 13-0 record in 2008, wrapping up the season with a 31-17 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Andersen has coached in the state of Utah since 1997, when he got his first FBS job as Utah's defensive line coach and special teams coach. He stayed in Salt Lake City until 2002, when he took over as the head coach of Southern Utah for the 2003 season.
If the report is accurate, Andersen's hiring would come as a surprise because his name wasn't seriously associated with the Wisconsin opening until late Tuesday night, when Sports Illustrated reported that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez had interviewed Andersen for the position.
Andersen's Aggies have also run the spread offense during his tenure, and Alvarez said earlier in the search that he didn't want the Badgers to move away from the pro-style offense he installed when he took over as the program's head coach in 1990. But Andersen's background as a defensive coach might mean that he would be willing to hang on to the run-first style of offense that the Badgers have run for the last two decades.
Andersen played center at Ricks College in 1984 and Utah from 1985-1986. His overall record as a head coach is 30-31, with a 26-24 record at Utah State. His son Keegan is a sophomore tight end for the Aggies, and his twin sons Chasen and Hagen are both committed to Utah State.
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