For all intents and purposes, it looks like the Wisconsin Badgers have found their new head coach in now former Utah State head coach Gary Andersen.
Multiple reports have surfaced that Andersen will be the next head coach at Wisconsin, and overall, this is a very good thing for the Badgers' recruiting.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported the news:
The earliest a state job in Wisconsin can be filled is two weeks after the job's posting, meaning Andersen can't be officially announced by the school until Thursday.
The school was expected to introduce Andersen at a news conference on Thursday, but a snowstorm might change those plans.
Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal tweeted out confirmation.
#Badgers set to hire Utah State's Gary Andersen. Source confirms he's the choice.— Tom Mulhern (@TomMulhernWSJ) December 19, 2012
He also tweeted that the press conference will be on Friday:
Reason has prevailed and press conference for #Badgers coach Gary Andersen is now set for Friday. Put away snowshoes, media.— Tom Mulhern (@TomMulhernWSJ) December 19, 2012
I've discussed it multiple times over the past few months, but it's worth reporting here again: Uncertainty or a vacancy at the head coaching position is horrible for recruiting, so at least now the Badgers can rest easy knowing that they have their new head coach.
He'll bring in a new sense of direction, purpose and focus, and that's huge for recruiting.
Andersen led the Aggies to an 11-2 record this past season and a win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He leaves Utah State with a 27-24 record, but he's credited for turning the Aggies' program around and leading them to their first bowl win in 19 seasons (per McMurphy/ESPN).
His time and success at Utah State will be valuable coming into Wisconsin as a recruiter, but where Andersen may have really set himself apart is with the way he handled leaving the Aggies' program.
Check out this tweet from Bleacher Report that cites another Mulhern tweet:
Utah State coach Gary Andersen called every one of his players after the Wisconsin news broke. Class. twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 20, 2012
Class is definitely the right word to use in this instance, and don't think that the type of person he is won't play a factor in recruiting. By the way he handled this situation, he proved to recruits that he's someone who cares about his football players personally.
This is such a stark contrast to the way we've seen these type of situations handled before, and I have no doubt that this will go over well with recruits. He appears to be a coach that actually cares, and at a school like Wisconsin that can be a major draw for recruits, this could end up being a great combination.
To cite Mulhern's Twitter feed again, here's one directly related to Andersen and recruiting:
Talked to a guy who is tight with Gary Andersen. Openly laughed at doubts about his recruiting. "Can sell ice to Eskimo." #Badgers— Tom Mulhern (@TomMulhernWSJ) December 19, 2012
As far as schemes are concerned, Andersen ran a spread offense at Utah State, but there's not much reason to believe Wisconsin football will suddenly look a lot different with him at the helm. To cite Mulhern one last time, this time in an article, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez appears to want to retain a few assistant coaches.
This is also good from a recruiting standpoint, as many of Wisconsin's 2013 recruits should have established relationships with their assistant coaches. This should help Andersen hold on to the Badgers' current recruits, and then he can do the rest.
All indications are pointing to this being a great recruiting hire for Wisconsin.
Andersen has a good track record and he appears to be an incredibly personable head coach.
His abilities as a recruiter and coach, plus the natural draw of Wisconsin football, point to a successful future for Wisconsin recruiting.