SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Aggies didn’t need to look very far to replace Matt Wells at head coach.
The Aggies welcomed back Gary Andersen to the top coaching spot Sunday, after nearly a week of speculation that the University of Utah assistant coach would return to Logan. The university reportedly shut down a nationwide search late in the week as the Aggies settled on Andersen.
"We welcome Gary and Stacey and their family back to the Utah State family," John Hartwell, Utah State director of athletics, said in a statement. "His care factor for his players, coupled with his recruiting philosophy and plan to win, are keys to the continued success of Aggie football.
“His knowledge of the state of Utah and our program are unparalleled and we feel those attributes will greatly aid in the continued growth and success of Aggie football."
"Stacey and I are thrilled to be back at Utah State University," Andersen said in a statement. "This is a special place and we are excited to meet these young men and play a part in seeing them succeed off and on the field academically, socially and athletically. We are grateful to reconnect with many great friends and supporters in Logan and want to thank John Hartwell and President (Noelle) Cockett for the opportunity. Go Aggies!"
Andersen coached the Aggies from 2009-12, where he resurrected a suffering program, and turned it around for back-to-back bowl seasons in his last two seasons with Utah State. Andersen was 26-24 in his tenure with the Aggies.
Following the 2012 season, Andersen accepted a head coaching job at Wisconsin, where he stayed for two seasons before accepting a head coaching job at Oregon State.
The Utah native, though, wasn’t content at Oregon State and left the program midseason in 2017. He later joined the University of Utah staff as a position coach on the defense, returning to the program for the first time since 2008. Andersen previously coached under Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and Urban Meyer before jumping to Utah State.
None of the current administration at Utah State has ties to Andersen, but he was seen as a viable option to maintain the Aggies’ success of 2018 where they finished the season with a 10-2 record.
The coaching search included former Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez, Maryland’s interim head coach Matt Canada and former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich, according to SB Nation.
An introductory press conference for Andersen will take place Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. The event will be streamed live on the Aggies’ website.