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Sources: Badgers To Name Gary Andersen Head Coach

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Gary Andersen. (Courtesy Utah State.)

Gary Andersen. (Courtesy Utah State.)

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Updated Wednesday, December 19 at 3:35 p.m. CT.

By Adam Hoge-

(CBS) Utah State’s Gary Andersen has reached an agreement in principle to become the next head coach at Wisconsin, two UW sources confirmed late Tuesday night.

The Wisconsin State Journal first reported the hire.

A formal announcement will either be made Wednesday or Thursday with a press conference Friday. The hiring process can’t be fully completed until at least Thursday because a UW-Madison policy requires the job to be posted for at least two weeks. However, a university source with knowledge of the hiring process said an official announcement can be made before Thursday with an agreement in principle in place. The press conference will be held Friday because of an imminent snow storm expected to hit Madison Wednesday evening.

On the surface, Andersen’s hiring at Wisconsin is somewhat surprising because he has no Midwest ties and Utah State currently runs a spread offense. Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez made it clear that the Badgers would not change it’s offensive philosophy after former coach Bret Bielema bolted for Arkansas.

Still, Andersen’s work at Utah State is remarkable. He took over a program in 2008 that had only won nine games total the previous four seasons. The Aggies went 4-8 in each of Andersen’s first two seasons at Utah State before reaching the Idaho Potato Bowl the last two years. This year, the Aggies were 11-2 including a 41-15 thumping of Toledo in Boise Saturday. In September, Andersen nearly beat the Badgers in Madison, but his kicker missed a 37-yard field goal at the end of the game and the Aggies lost 16-14.

Andersen will inherit a Badgers team that will return a great majority of its starters. Just days before accepting the Arkansas job, Bielema bragged about the talent coming back to Wisconsin next season.

“I have 27 juniors.  I believe 12 of them are probably going to be draft worthy,” Bielema said Nov. 30, the day before Wisconsin beat Nebraska 70-31 in the Big Ten Championship Game. “I’m very excited about the chemistry of the group that’s going to be coming back next year.”

Alvarez will coach Wisconsin against Stanford in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1. Nearly all of UW’s assistants have accepted coaching jobs elsewhere, but they are all sticking around to coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl.

For more college football coverage, follow Adam on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS).

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