Wisconsin officially tabs Andersen as head coach

The University of Wisconsin officially named Gary Andersen as its next football coach on Thursday.

Andersen bolted from Utah State to take over the position left by Bret Bielema, who surprised Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez when he decided to take the vacancy at Arkansas.

Alvarez is set to coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl against Stanford on New Year's Day.

Andersen had spent the past four seasons at Utah State, which just completed an 11-2 season with a victory in the Idaho Potato Bowl last Saturday. The Aggies had won a total of 15 games in Andersen's first three seasons and were 26-24 in his four-year tenure.

The Aggies nearly upset the Badgers this season at Camp Randall Stadium, as a missed 37-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds allowed Wisconsin to escape with a 16-14 win in September.

Andersen was reportedly a candidate for other openings in the past month, including positions at Colorado, Kentucky and California.

Prior to taking the Utah State job, Andersen spent 11 of the previous 12 seasons as an assistant at Utah. He coached with the Utes from 1997-2002, then took the head coaching position at Southern Utah before heading back to Utah in 2004.