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Utah State hires Gary Andersen to return as football coach

Ron McBride, left, and Gary Anderson meet before NCAA football in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

LOGAN – It’s a coming home party in some ways as Utah State announced Sunday the return of Utah assistant head football coach Gary Andersen as head coach of the Aggies.

“Stacey and I are thrilled to be back at Utah State University,” said Andersen in a press release. “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 served as the head coach for the Aggies from 2009-2012. He had a 26-24 record in four seasons originally with Utah State including an 11-2 record and a WAC championship in 2012.

From there he went to Wisconsin where he finished 20-7 overall. Andersen only coached two seasons and then shocked the college football world by leaving a powerhouse in Wisconsin to go to Oregon State.

That experience didn’t go quite like the others. He finished with a 7-23 record and left midway through the 2017 season mutually agreeing to part ways with the Beavers program.

However, Andersen will bring back his experience working in the program as he makes his return.

“Gary clearly knows football and the blueprint for success at Utah State. He is dedicated to the success of his student-athletes in the classroom, on the field of play and in life after football,” Utah State President Noelle Cockett said. “Gary’s energy and enthusiasm will benefit the football program, athletics department and University, and as importantly, the Aggie fanbase across Cache Valley and beyond.”

Andersen replaces former head coach Matt Wells who took the head coach job with Texas Tech.