Utah State Football: Gary Andersen Out As Head Coach, Per Reports
The Aggies appear to have made a change by showing Andersen the door.
The second go-around didn’t work out.
After absorbing their third straight blowout loss to open the 2020 football season, reports indicate that the Utah State Aggies have fired head coach Gary Andersen.
Breaking: Utah State is parting ways with Gary Andersen, per source. Word beginning to reach staff there
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 7, 2020
The news, first reported by USA Today’s Dan Wolken, is perhaps a mild surprise for how quickly the program decided to pull the trigger in this young season. However, after falling to 0-3 and losing games to Boise State, San Diego State, and Nevada by an average margin of 38-10, there’s plenty of justification for the move.
Utah State makes it official with statement from AD John Hartwell. pic.twitter.com/4dYiYT8qMV
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) November 7, 2020
Andersen arrived in Logan for a second stint in the head coach position on December 9, 2018, following two seasons at Wisconsin and three more at Oregon State where he tallied a 26-30 record. He was let go from the Beavers midway through the 2017 season and spent 2018 as an offensive coordinator at Utah.
His first four years as a head coach, however, was with these same Aggies from 2009 to 2012, when he shepherded the program out of a string of losing seasons that stretched back to 1997. Utah State went 4-8 in his first two years at the helm, then they improved to 7-6 in 2011 and 11-2 in 2012, the latter of which marked only the second time in program history that they finished the year in the Associated Press top 25, at #16.
It was that revitalization that spurred optimism from the program’s supporters that he could maintain the similarly lofty heights to which previous head coach Matt Wells had also led the Aggies. However, after inheriting a team that went 11-2 in 2018, Utah State had an uneven 2019 campaign and fell to 7-6, though quarterback Jordan Love would become the program’s first first-round NFL Draft pick since 1970.
The off-season which followed would raise some eyebrows, too, as presumed heir apparent quarterback Henry Colombi would be allowed to follow Wells through the transfer portal to Texas Tech, replaced by Utah transfer Jason Shelley. He also made some ill-defined remarks about the program’s opt-out policies in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic back in October, being quoted as saying “if you opt out, you aren’t with us” before clarifying later.
According to Stadium’s Brett McMurray, Frank Maile will replace Andersen as interim head coach. He also replaced Wells for the 2018 New Mexico Bowl. This article will be updated as news develops.