Andersen introduced as UW football head coach

Published On: Dec 21 2012 11:08:15 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 21 2012 07:47:36 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Former Utah State head football coach Gary Andersen was introduced as the University of Wisconsin's new head football coach during a news conference Friday morning.

Andersen, who just completed his fourth and best season at Utah State, replaces Bret Bielema who left the Badgers for Arkansas earlier this month.

Andersen said his top priorities are to be there for the "kids" in the program, reach out and secure UW’s commits, and to reach out and start recruiting.

Andersen said sometimes he gets teased for referring to the players as "kids," but he says he cares about them just as much as his own kids. Anderson said he wants to help them to not only be good, but to be great academically, socially and on the football field.

When UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez offered him the job, Andersen said he was excited and humbled.

"When Coach Alvarez offered me the job, I just said, 'Yes.' I think I shocked him a little bit. I didn’t ask any more questions. I just shook his hand and said, yes."

Alvarez said he talked to three candidates face-to-face for the head coach position before offering the job to Andersen.

"I said all along that we would take our time so we can make the right fit," Alvarez said. "We have the right fit. Gary has impressed me as the person, the right person who believes in the things we have done to be successful in this program."

Alvarez said besides his passion for the game of football, Andersen is demanding, fair, consistent and he cares about his players and their success on and off the field.

As far as UW ‘s well-established traditions are concerned,  Andersen said he is familiar with some of them, like "Jump Around" and the strong presence of the UW Marching Band.

"There’s a lot of traditions I may not know about yet," Andersen said, "but I’m excited to learn."

Andersen said he’s excited to get a head start on building the team for next season.

When Andersen met with his new players, he told them he wants them to keep focus on preparing for the Rose Bowl.

"These kids need to go in and win a Rose Bowl," Anderson said. "I’ll be a fly on the wall for now."