SALT LAKE CITY — Utah football is welcoming back a familiar face to the program.
Former Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen has rejoined the Utah football family and will serve as an associate head coach and defensive assistant, the university announced Tuesday.
Andersen, who was most recently the head coach of Oregon State before mutually parting ways midseason, joins Utah as its 10th assistant coach, which is now allowed under a new NCAA rule that went into effect on Tuesday.
In a statement, head coach Kyle Whittingham said Andersen “brings a wealth of high-level coaching experience” to Utah and is “an excellent recruiter and motivator and understands what it takes to win at this level.”
“Returning to the Utah football family is something my wife Stacey and I are very excited about,” Andersen said in a statement. “Having an opportunity to coach at your alma mater is somewhat unusual and having the opportunity to do it again is certainly special. Kyle Whittingham is a great coach and I look forward to working alongside him again. I am fired up to meet the players and go to work.”
Andersen, who was a coach at Utah from 2005-08, left Utah in 2009 to be the head coach at Utah State where he turned around the program and helped the Aggies claim their first bowl appearance in 14 years. Since that initial bowl appearance, the Aggies have made it to the postseason in six of the last seven years.
Following a three-year tenure in Logan, Andersen jumped to the Big Ten as the head coach of Wisconsin where he led his team to a Big Ten West Division title in 2014. Andersen returned to the West in 2015 to take the head coaching job at Oregon State. Andersen, however, couldn’t turn Oregon State into a winning program and resigned in October.
Andersen was frustrated and left Oregon State because he couldn’t change the culture in Corvallis, according to media reports. He left more than $12 million on the table by mutually parting ways with the university. Following his departure, it was expected that Andersen would be added to Utah’s staff once the NCAA allowed a 10th coach.
As a defensive coordinator at Utah, the Utes finished in the top three in the Mountain West Conference in scoring defense every season. He was also instrumental in Utah’s undefeated 2008 season that was capped off by a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
Andersen played center at Utah from 1985-86 after playing at the former Ricks College.
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