Wisconsin Head Coach Gary Andersen on Urban Meyer

By Kyle Rowland on June 24, 2013 at 1:04p
Urban Meyer hired Gary Andersen to be an assistant at Utah.

Urban Meyer is entering just his second year in the Big Ten, but already his relationships with Wisconsin's head coaches have been put under the microscope. First came a dustup with Bret Bielema. Now comes the friendship Meyer shares with Gary Andersen. Meyer hired Andersen prior to Utah's undefeated season of 2004 to serve as the Utes' defensive line coach. 

In a Q and A with the Desert News of Salt Lake City, Andersen was asked about life in the Big Ten and competing against an old friend.

Q: Discuss life in the Big Ten and competing against Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, your former boss at Utah.

Andersen: It'll be fun. It's a big-time conference. Every conference has great teams and every conference has teams that are on the rise. It's a very competitive situation that we're in week in and week out. It's a very physical brand of football, without question, but it's amazing when you sit back and watch the film. What I saw was there's every type of offense other than Air Force's triple-option stuff that you have to be able to defend. So... it's a spread conference; it's a smash-mouth conference. There's big, powerful kids in the conference week in and week out and it's a high level of football. Football is very, very important there — just like it is in the state of Utah. But it's a tremendous conference. I think it's continuing to grow and get better every single year. You've got to be on your toes every week to have an opportunity to win. Like I always say, it's tough to win Division I football games and now in the Big Ten Conference that will be no different. It's going to be very difficult to win every week.

Q: Have you had a chance to speak with coach Meyer since taking the job at Wisconsin?

Andersen: We talk. Actually whenever we get a chance to go to any Big Ten meetings we try to maybe go to lunch or dinner and sit down and talk about things a little bit. We still talk quite a bit. I think it's a very good friendship. We both have great respect for each other and it's great to be able to kind of sit back and not talk to him about football stuff, which is nice. I do the same thing with Kyle (Whittingham). We don't always have to sit there and talk about football. We can just talk how friends talk.  


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Grayskullsession's picture

But....we need to be enemies with them. The cycle must continue!!!!

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

Hovenaut's picture


As long as Alvarez is still there I'll always have animosity towards Wisky.

onetwentyeight's picture

I don't know if anyone read the Grantland piece on Bielma's move to Arkansas but it's very informative. Namely, that the principal reason he left was because Wisconsin wasn't paying his assistants at competitive market value and so they kept leaving. As much as we all hate Wisky and Bielma (and hate the SEC for 'poaching' a B1G HC), it is worrying to me that the 3rd biggest/most successful team in our conference (sorry, not gonna include the Walking Dead Nittany Lions) CAN'T PAY ITS ASSISTANTS. Like, it's pretty damning of the league as a whole. If you wanna be competitive with the best, you gotta make SOME sort of commitment. If not, then why even bother? Just cut your program altogether, save ALL the money, and invest it purely on academics. (The UChicago route). I have no problem with that. 
But if you wanna play with the big boys (ie keep the B1G relevant and competitive against the SEC), you can't expect to do so on a f*cking Miserly-ass budget. 
I know we don't have this issue, but outside of us and UM it seems like the rest of the B1G is set on slowly allowing themselves to atrophy away into irrelevance. 

osubuck57's picture

All very good points ONETWENTYEIGHT!! There are always exceptions to the rule, ie. Northwestern, who I believe puts together competitive teams for the most part, year in and year out. Young, aggressive , diamond in the rough coordinators/position coaches ,can be found all over the place and not cost an arm and a leg. I for one, think and will always think BielmaManBoobs just flat out couldn't keep up with the recruiting that Urbs and that other coach, I refuse to mention his name, can do. Like what Fitz is doing at Northwestern, and O'Brien at Penn State, and believe we'll have to keep an eye on Hazell,at least in a few years,if he's given time. But the Iowa's, Indiana's,illinois's, and Minnesota's have got to do their parts, otherwise it will remain the same with the same 2 teams at the top.Left out Nebraska because i think Pellini is on a very short leash with his recent blow out games to us and Wisky, and Maryland and Rutgers are too new to conference to be hyper-crytical of them,yet.


CowCat's picture

I dislike Bert as much as the next guy, but I can't blame him for ducking out of the recruiting war.
With Urbz, Hoke and O'Brien locking down the cream of the crop from Ohio and Pennsylvania, other B1G teams will have to recruit harder on a national scale to compete.  If the school is unwilling to invest in that level of recruiting (by hiring great assistants) they're not going to get there.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Deshaun's picture

USA Today released its coaching staff databases in December. Here are a couple of the high points:

13 of the 16 highest paid assistant coaching staffs produced AP ranked teams. In fact exactly two-thirds of the AP top-25 teams (not counting the 4 who didn't report) spent at least $2.3M on assistant coaches in 2012. Every team (literally) who finished in the top-10 spent at least $2.4M.

How many Big Ten teams spent at least $2.3M on assistant coaches in 2012? Three. Ohio State (#6 highest assistant salary at $3,288,000), TTUN (#12 at $2,926,000), and Illinois (#24 at $2,300,000). By comparison, Boise State ranked #21 in the country, spending $2,375,541 on assistant coaches. That's right. Boise outspent Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Furthermore, Memphis, Iowa State, Utah, and Washington State each spent more on assistants than Wisconsin.

The magic combination appears to be a head coach making at least $2.6M and an assistant coaching staff worth at least $2.4M. 12 teams met these requirements and 11 finished the season ranked (including numbers 1, 2, and 3). #4 Notre Dame does not report. The highest ranked team not to meet at least one of these criteria? #12 Kansas State, who was at $2.2M or higher for both criteria. In the Big Ten, only Ohio State and TTUN pay both their head and assistant coaches at least $2.2M, let alone $2.6M and $2.4M respectively.

* 8 schools (Miami, Stanford, BYU, Pitt, Temple, Tulsa, Tulane, Vanderbilt) did not report head or assistant coaching salary data.
** 13 schools (TCU, Notre Dame, USC, Penn St, Wake Forest, Baylor, SMU, Duke, Northwestern, Syracuse, BC, Rice, Hawaii) only reported head coaching salaries

tennbuckeye19's picture

One of the footnotes in the Grantland - Bielema article stated that after he left Wisky and Andersen was hired, Alvarez actually did give in and increase the assistant salary pool by $500,000. Not sure what Andersen is making or where that would put them as far as what they are paying assistants now versus other teams, but it's more than they were doing before.

Deshaun's picture

As much as Alvarez liked to erroneously claim Wisconsin’s assistant coaching compensation scale was competitive, it appears he has upped Wisconsin’s assistant salary pool to $2,495,000 for 2013.  That would be an increase of $721,650 and place it #19 in the nation compared to 2012 salaries.  Andersen is reportedly earning $1.8M in 2013.  Not along the lines of what nationally competitive programs in the country pay head coaches, but then, Andersen has clearly not earned the distinction of an “elite” coach yet.  Also of note: Purdue increased its assistant coaching staff salaries from $1,610,304 to $2,010,000, which would still only place it #42 in the country based on 2012 salaries. 
However, the other schools will be increasing as well.  For example, the #15 assistant staff salary in 2010 was $2,213,250.  In 2011, the #15 ranked staff made a combined $2,460,654.  By 2012, the #15 ranked assistant staff of Georgia earned $2,770,000.  In fact, BCS conference schools have increased assistant salary pools an average of $237,703 per season the past two seasons.  In other words, the magic number for assistant coaching salaries in 2013 will probably be closer to $2.6M.

bodast67's picture

Maybe if they would quit providing free glasses of paint thinner to the students before the games, they could pay better salaries...




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

FROMTHE18's picture

Anderson is probably asking Urban for some help with recruiting...Wisconsin could use it.

Cincinnati Mac's picture

This guy is the Anti Bert.
Want....to...dislike...but...cannot ....

Poison nuts's picture

Right? That rivalry was all about hating Bert...what's to become of things if this guy is a decent human?

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Someone needs to start some rumors about the guy, so that the hatred can endure.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Dr. House's picture

I have heard he steals candy from babies, and doesnt look both ways before crossing the street. 

Poison nuts's picture

Also, every hotel he stays in - has fewer towels when he leaves...he is a very, very bad man.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

cajunbuckeye's picture

I've heard from undisclosed sources that he may not tip well at restaurants.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Urban Nation Army's picture

I believe Andersen will be very good for the Wisconsin program. Our rivalry with them will most likely be solidified as the #2 rivalry we have during his tenure. We may not all feel the same way about Wisconsin without Bert there, but I believe the rivalry will be as, if not more, competitive.

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Being in different divisions will certainly take some luster away, though, since they'll play so infrequently. That is, unless they play in the Big Ten title game. 

Urban Nation Army's picture

I didn't really think about that, but other than Penn State or Michigan State, no one in our division will be a serious rivalry anytime soon. I don't see those being bigger than Wisconsin, but that's right now, and like you said the alignment could change that.

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.


I have a feeling Hokey Pokey will find a way to take up Bert's slack. Coach Anderson might prove to be the kind of coach the B1G needs anyway. Not Bert and his Spare Tire.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

DannyBeane's picture

So Coach Anderson could potentially be the Harvey Dent to Urban's Batman?

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Now that Bert's gone I just might go back to eating Brats again................

Nick's picture

Now that we can't make fun of Wisconsin's coach it'll just go back to normal. An average team in an average division getting in line for its beat down. 

DaiTheFlu's picture

Is it just me, or does it look like Coach Andersen is about to start up an "O-H" chant?

We can't stop here; this is bat country...

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I tried to find a terrible picture of Gary Anderson that we could all make fun of, but this is the best I could do:

Yeti's have feelings too.

pjtobin's picture

So how is Gary as a head coach? He must be ok to be at Wisconsin. Right? I have not heard much about him. I did hear when he walks his dog he doesn't "pick up" the pets droppings. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

SaltyD0gg's picture

I completely forgot that's who Wiscy hired. I think they will, for the foreseeable future, be coached by "Not Bert" in my thinking.

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