SALT LAKE CITY — Former Oregon State head football coach Gary Andersen is heading back to Utah.

Andersen, who left OSU midway through the 2017 season, will be an associate head coach and defensive assistant for the Utes. The Salt Lake City native will begin his third stint at Utah when the new NCAA rule allowing a 10th assistant coach goes into effect on Jan. 9.

The hire was announced Tuesday morning. 

"We're looking forward to Gary rejoining our staff," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, a close friend of Andersen's. "Gary brings a wealth of high-level coaching experience to the program, including serving as the head coach at two Power Five schools. During his previous time on our staff, he developed some of the best defensive linemen in Utah history. In addition, he is an excellent recruiter and motivator and understands what it takes to win at this level."

Andersen and OSU mutually agreed to part ways following a 38-10 loss at USC on Oct. 7. Andersen finished 7-23 — 3-18 in Pac-12 play — in two and a half seasons in Corvallis.

OSU paid Andersen through the end of 2017. The coach had more than $12 million remaining on his contract, which ran through the 2021 season.

The Beavers were 1-5 when Andersen decided to walk away. The team finished 1-11 overall and 0-9 against Pac-12 foes. 

Andersen will begin his 12th overall season with the Utes after nine years away as the head coach at Utah State (2009-12), Wisconsin (2013-14) and OSU (2015-17).

"Returning to the Utah football family is something my wife Stacey and I are very excited about," Andersen said in a statement. "Having an opportunity to coach at your alma mater is somewhat unusual and having the opportunity to do it again is certainly special. Kyle Whittingham is a great coach and I look forward to working alongside him again. I am fired up to meet the players and go to work."

Andersen began his college coaching career in 1988 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana. His other college experience came at Ricks College (1989-91), Idaho State (1992-93) and Northern Arizona (1995-96). He was the head coach at Park City High in 1994.

Andersen played center for Utah from 1985-86 after earning first-team junior college All-America honors at Ricks College in 1984.

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