Tuesday night, SI's Pete Thamel reported Utah State coach Gary Andersen was the latest to interview with Wisconsin. Shortly after, Football Scoop denied the report. Call off the dogs!
Except this was followed by multiple reports from the Wisconsin side that Andersen not only interviewed, but is set to replace Bret Bielema as the next coach of the Badgers:
#Badgers set to hire Utah State's Gary Andersen. Source confirms he's the choice.— Tom Mulhern (@TomMulhernWSJ) December 19, 2012
2 sources say Barry Alvarez interviewed Gary Andersen Monday.Alvarez offered the job to him late today, Andersen accepted.#Badgers— Lance Allan (@lanceallan) December 19, 2012
Sources at Wisconsin now confirming to us Utah State head coach Gary Andersen will be new head coach of the Badgers— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 19, 2012
The 26-22 coach would be a popular hire, and with good reason, having just turned in the best season in Utah State history and already wrapping up a bowl victory, going from 4-8 in Year 1 to 11-2 in Year 4. And his Utah State team came two points from beating Wisconsin this year.
From Bucky's 5th Quarter's breakdown of him as a candidate:
Overview: When you think of Gary Andersen, you think Utah. Born in Salt Lake City, he started his playing career at Ricks Junior College (which grew up to be BYU-Idaho), and played his final two years at Utah. And since 1997, he was the defensive line coach at Utah, the head coach at Southern Utah, the defensive coordinator of Utah and the head coach at Utah State.
Why it Works: .359. That's Utah State's winning percentage since its return to FBS level football. That is, before Gary Andersen showed up. Being the third wheel in a state where there's barely enough players two is no easy task and no small feat. Recruiting along those lines is a real tough road to hoe. And he did it with style and creativity. I mean, getting to an over .500 record in three seasons after the guy (Brent Guy) previous to him went 9-38 during his run. You know he can make something great.
Also, just for fun, here's what Andersen said three weeks ago, after receiving a Utah State contract extension through 2018:
"I plan to remain the head football coach at Utah State University," Andersen stated. "The interest I have received is a compliment to the quality young men in this program. Their hard work and dedication has built a culture that will enable us to continue to be successful at a very high level moving forward.
"I love Cache Valley, this university and these young men, and I am humbled and excited to continue to be the coach here. The leadership of President (Stan) Albrecht and Mr. Barnes, as well as the support from the fans and community, are big reasons why this is the right place for myself and my family at this time."
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