Former Utah State head football coast Gary Anderson said he can’t wait to get started as the University of Wisconsin’s new head football coach.
Andersen was introduced by Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez at a news conference in Madison Friday.
The 48-year-old Andersen just completed his fourth and best season at Utah State. The 18th-ranked Aggies finished 11-2 with a bowl victory over Toledo and won the Western Athletic Conference.
Alvarez called it an exciting day for Badger football program and said Andersen believes in supporting the players first. He said he met face-to-face with three candidates for the coaching position and did not offer the job to anyone else.
Alvarez described Andersen as the “perfect fit.”
“The first question he asked me was about academic support for the players,” Alvarez said.
Andersen said Wisconsin has everything it needs to compete at the highest level.
“The second coach Alvarez contacted me, I knew it was a job I was going to take,” he said.
Andersen said his top priorities are building a relationship with the players, reaching out to secure commitments and reaching out to start recruiting.
“They (players) are my kids. Every single one of them are my kids. I look at them the same way I do my own kids,” he said.
When asked about the hiring of assistant coaches, Andersen said he would be looking for coaches who put the players first. He said he’s interested in retaining as many UW assistant coaches as possible.
Three or four of his coaches from Utah State will be coming to Wisconsin, according to Andersen.
As coach, Andersen said Wisconsin will be a run-first team on offense and said he wants to “out physical” opponents.
Anderson said he will be a “fly on the wall” and use the Rose Bowl to prepare for coaching the team next year.
Andersen had also drawn interest from California, Colorado and Kentucky last month, but decided to pass on those opportunities and received a contract extension from Utah State. But the offer from Wisconsin, a team his Aggies nearly beat this season, was too tempting.
Andersen replaces Bret Bielema, who left Wisconsin for Arkansas on Dec. 4, three days after the Badgers won the Big Ten title and a school-record third straight trip to the Rose Bowl.
The contract for the University of Wisconsin's new head football coach is up for approval by a Board of Regents committee.
A notice for Thursday's telephone meeting of the Regents' executive committee doesn't disclose any details of the deal.