"Gary has built a foundation that gives our football program an opportunity to sustain success," Barnes said in a statement. "Our student-athletes are achieving in the classroom, and earning conference and national academic honors. On the football field, they're representing our university community very well," Barnes said. "It takes time to build a football program and after three years, Gary's leadership has put us ahead of schedule in many aspects."
Andersen is in his third season with the Aggies, and only two previous coaches have taken the team to a bowl game in fewer season. John Ralston led them to the 1960 Sun Bowl and Charlie Weatherbie led them to the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl, both in their second seasons.
"First of all, it is an honor to get an extension and a new six-year contract," Andersen said in a statement. "As a football coach, I have always wanted to have some stability for myself and my family. The commitment from Utah State University is outstanding. My commitment to this university, this community and Aggie Nation, is very strong and very important to myself and to my family. I think that in this case, both parties are showing a commitment to all Aggies, past, present and future."
Last month, Utah State was one of 29 teams recognized by the American Football Coaches Association for academic achievement.
The Aggies have a combined 77 percent graduation rate for football players, encompassing its four most recent graduating classes, ending in 2010. That's highest among the eight schools in the Western Athletic Conference, the school said, as well as the highest among Division I teams in Utah with Utah at 62 percent and Brigham Young at 57 percent.