Former Utah State coach Gary Andersen consulting BYU’s spring football practices

Andersen had been out of the coaching game since the 2021-22 season.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Utah State University announces the hiring of Gary Andersen as its head coach in 2008. Andersen is now serving as a consultant for the BYU Cougars.

Provo • The last time you probably saw Gary Andersen on a football field was back at Weber State almost two years ago.

The former Utah State head coach was serving as an analyst in Ogden during the 2021 season. Jay Hill, now BYU’s defensive coordinator, was the head coach at Weber then and he brought his old friend on board.

After that, Andersen left the coaching rankings — until he reemerged at BYU’s spring practices this month.

Andersen is consulting for the Cougars this spring. It is a relatively common practice in college football. Sometimes consultants are former players, or coaches with old connections. BYU filters through a handful in a given year.

But when it is a former head coach with significant Utah ties, it attracts more attention.

“He is helping out on everything,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “He is consulting, so anything he sees he is able to get extra eyes on everything. He’s done it before. So it’s been really helpful for Jay and for myself. For everyone on the defensive side.”

Andersen has a long history with both Hill and Sitake. When they were coming up through the coaching ranks at Utah, Andersen served as the Utes’ associate head coach and defensive coordinator.

Sitake coached the linebackers under Andersen. Hill was over cornerbacks for part of Andersen’s coordinating tenure.

After Andersen left in 2008 to become the head coach in Logan, Sitake took over as Utah’s defensive coordinator.

Andersen went on to be the head coach at Wisconsin and Oregon State after Utah State.

“He’s a player’s coach,” Sitake said. “So the [current BYU] players gravitate toward him. He’s been able to give them some good counsel and good advice.”

Andersen’s role is not official, BYU said. It is not the same as the more formal capacity he served under Hill at Weber.

(Weber State athletics) Former Utah State football coach Gary Andersen, left, has joined Jay Hill, right, and the Weber State Wildcats this season as a volunteer staff member. “Gary is one of the best coaches in the country and we are lucky to have him with us,” Hill said.

But the two-time Utah State coach is back in spring camp and back on the field for now.

“It is a lot of fun right now. We’ve just got to keep rolling,” Sitake said.

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