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Scuttlebutt held that a Utah State head coach might soon occupy the vacancy created at Oregon State when Mike Riley bolted to Nebraska.
But not by way of Wisconsin.
News that Salt Lake City native Gary Andersen and not current Aggies head coach Matt Wells has accepted a job with the Beavers sent out shockwaves that rippled through the state of Utah, where Andersen was a coordinator at the U., head coach at Utah State and remains an active recruiter.
Former Utah head coach Ron McBride summed up the broader reaction when informed by a Tribune reporter: "What?!"
McBride visited Andersen during fall camp in Madison, where he met athletic director Barry Alvarez and felt things were going swimmingly between them. Just two days ago, McBride texted Andersen and heard everything was great. In fact, McBride planned to see his old friend and former employee while attending the Outback Bowl, against Auburn.
Then, out of left field Wednesday, came the Portland Tribune's report.
The Chicago Tribune later reported that "many" had felt Andersen was waiting to see if Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham would leave for Michigan, but that Oregon State persuaded him to wait no longer.
Alvarez told The Associated Press that he "had no idea this was in the works. Gary felt like this was an opportunity for him and his family to get back to that part of the country."
Andersen will face Whittingham as coach of the Beavers next season on Oct. 31, and he will open against another former U. colleague, Weber State head coach Jay Hill, on Sept. 5 in Corvallis, Ore.
Hill said Wednesday afternoon that he wanted to speak with Andersen before commenting, but allowed, "Anywhere he goes, I wish him the best. He's an awesome guy. He's an awesome coach."
Andersen's Wisconsin staff included numerous coaches with Utah ties: former Utah assistants Andy Ludwig and Chad Kauha'aha'a, onetime Utah State assistants Dave Aranda and T.J. Woods, and Bill Busch, who coached with Andersen at both locations.
Record-setting Jordan High quarterback Austin Kafentzis, committed to the Badgers, had yet to hear from Wisconsin coaches or thoroughly weigh his options, said his dad, Kyle, when contacted late Wednesday afternoon.
They'll have to wait and see if Wisconsin's new coach honors the scholarship offer, and if he does, if he sees Kafentzis as a quarterback.
"Is he committed to Wisconsin? Absolutely," said Kyle Kafentzis. But, "at the end of the day, he's not going to go to a school where a coach says, 'Well, I don't think you're a quarterback.'"
Andersen, who lost 59-0 in the Big Ten championship game to another former Utah coach, Urban Meyer, served as head coach at Park City High (1994-95), assistant at Utah (1997-2002, then again from 2004-08, and as defensive coordinator during the team's Sugar Bowl run), head coach at Southern Utah (2003) and head coach at Utah State (2009-12).
He left Logan for Madison to replace Bret Bielema, who took a job at Arkansas ironically, after the 2012 Big Ten championship game.