On a day when Gary Andersen’s agent said there was nothing new to report on his client’s involvement with the Cal coaching search, the Utah State coach got a strong endorsement from long-time friend and in-state rival Kyle Whittingam of Utah.
“He’s an excellent football coach, no doubt about that. What he’s done at Utah State certainly speaks to that,” said Whittingham, whose Utes lost 27-20 to Utah State this season. “He’s intelligent. His players really like him, not because he coddles them because they respect him. There’s a big difference.
“You’ve got to be disciplined and tough and he is all that. At same time you’ve got to be able to garner respect of his players. That’s the combination ideally you’re looking for.”
In his fourth season at Utah State, Andersen has directed the Aggies to a 10-2 record and the outright Western Athletic Confererence championship.
Andersen has emerged as a legitimate candidate for the Cal job left vacant Nov. 20 when Jeff Tedford was fired after 11 seasons. Sources said Wednesday that Cal has contacted Andersen about the position.
Andersen, 48, has had success with a Utah State program that has spawned the careers of John Ralston and Bruce Snyder, who went on to great success at Stanford and Cal, respectively.
Andersen and Whittingham have been friends for 22 years. They worked together on coach Urban Meyer’s staff at Utah when the Utes went 13-0 in 2008, then beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Whittingham noted that besides being defensive coordinator for that team, Andersen has experience as an offensive line coach and a former offensive lineman. “He’s well-versed on both sides of the football,” Whittingham said.
Cal easily could triple Andersen’s current salary of $600,000, but there are other considerations.
Andersen’s son Keegan is a sophomore tight end for the Aggies. Younger son Chasen, a high school linebacker prospect, recently committed to Utah State. And Andersen’s brother Mark is director of football operations.
“That’s a factor, no question about it,” Whittingham said. “Gary’s a family man. His family means everything to him. It’s certainly in the equation.
“What outweighs what is up to him. I know he feels very comfortable in Logan, very content.”
Would he leave?
“That’s a good question,” Whittingham said. “You’d have to take that up with him.”
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