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Gary Andersen is Returning to Utah as an Associate Head Coach and Defensive Assistant

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 26 Pac-12 Media Day Portraits Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former Utah assistant coach Gary Andersen will rejoin the Utah Utes coaching staff as an associate head coach and defensive assistant on Jan. 9 when the new NCAA rule allowing a 10th assistant coach takes effect. The former Utah football center and Salt Lake City, Utah native last coached at Utah as the defensive coordinator in the 2008 season. Andersen left Utah to be the head coach at the Utah State Aggies from 2009-2012. He was then the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers from 2013-2014. His most recent head coaching stop was with the Oregon State Beavers starting in 2015. He stepped down after a 1-5 start to the 2017 season. The 2018 season with Utah will be his 12th as a coach (in addition to two as a player).

"We're looking forward to Gary rejoining our staff," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "Gary brings a wealth of high-level coaching experience to the program, including serving as the head coach at two Power Five schools. During his previous time on our staff, he developed some of the best defensive linemen in Utah history. In addition, he is an excellent recruiter and motivator and understands what it takes to win at this level."

Shane and I wrote about this possibility back at the end of November. This is a great move for Utah for multiple reasons. Andersen knows the Utah program and has coached under Whittingham. He will also be able to provide a wealth of knowledge and be a great resource for defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley. Andersen has a great track record as a recruiter, so this addition, roughly a month before National Signing Day, could help Utah close out the 2018 recruiting class well. Utah is still in contention to sign multiple top prospects, including several U.S. Army All-Americans. Having Andersen on staff may give Utah the edge they need to land a few more of these players than initially expected. Andersen is a coach who brings a lot of energy and has a track record for developing defensive line talent. It is exciting to have Coach A returning to Utah.

"Returning to the Utah football family is something my wife Stacey and I are very excited about," said Andersen. "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."