Trajectory Of Utah State Football Program Led To Gary Andersen’s Dismissal

Nov 9, 2020, 4:29 PM | Updated: Feb 26, 2021, 2:37 pm

Gary Andersen - Utah State Aggies...

Utah State head football coach Gary Andersen talks to his team at the end of a March 2019 scrimmage at Maverik Stadium in Logan. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah – After three straight losses to start the 2020 season in blowout fashion, Utah State Athletic Director John Hartwell did not like the trajectory of the football program.

The Aggies announced on Saturday that they have fired head coach Gary Andersen. Hartwell named assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Frank Maile the interim head coach.

“This is not a knee jerk reaction, this is not a, you know, a one day or a one game or a one event type thing,” Hartwell told the media on Monday. “He (Gary Andersen) and I have been in close conversation and meetings. The first three weeks, other than a snippet here or there was not Aggie football as we’ve grown accustomed to the success level, and really, other than maybe the first quarter of the Nevada game the other night, we really weren’t in contention in any of those games and that’s not the product he wanted. That’s not what I want. It’s not what any of Aggie nation wanted.

“It was not just a matter of where we were, was the trajectory of the program, as well. After carefully evaluating that, and again, it’s mid… timing wise, why mid year? After he and I visited again, just felt like we needed to go in a different direction,” Hartwell added. “I’m excited about Frank Maile taking over on the interim basis, as most of you know, he took over two years ago after Matt Wells left after the regular season to go to Texas Tech and he did an outstanding job in preparation for the bowl game, and obviously a nice Aggie victory in that game. So I’m excited to see what he’s going to do with our team over the next five weeks.”

Five Week Audition For Frank Maile

With Frank Maile in as interim head coach for the second time in three years, the next five weeks will give him an opportunity to show Hartwell that he can be the next head coach of the Aggies.

“Frank and I, obviously had conversations significant conversation before he accepted taking the interim position and I think it absolutely does, it gives him a five week audition, if you will. There’s, there’s no guarantee, no promise in there,” Hartwell said. “But it certainly does not hurt him having that ability. I also told him, I said, ‘Hey, I know this is a difficult situation and you’re not going to be thought less of it. If you don’t go 5-0 in this stint as the interim coach,’ but I know this about Frank, his passion and energy and enthusiasm for the young men in our program and for our program in general, is not something that started two days ago, when he was named the interim head coach. It’s something that’s been a lifetime for him. And I know he will get our guys prepared and have them ready to play hard every single snap, starting this Saturday.”

Timeline Of Hiring The New Coach

Hartwell was asked when he would prefer to have the next head coach hired.

“Obviously, the sooner the better because of what that does, is it alleviates the anxiety of who it’s going to be what kind of coach is it going to be, you know, all of those questions, but but I’m not going to rush to a decision,” Hartwell stated. “I want to make sure that we get the right person and the other nuance for this year, if you will, is in a normal season, most regular season play is over by the end of November, the very beginning of December. With seasons being pushed back, either starting or being delayed by COVID, most people don’t finish till December 12 and conference championship games, December 19, and then bowl games after that. Initial blush would say if we could find the right person, hopefully on or before December 15. I think we’re doing well there and you know, let them assemble a staff and get to know our current student athletes and complete the recruiting process and get going towards future success for Aggie football.”

The Aggies will play their first game since Andersen’s departure on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. MT against Fresno State on FS2.

  • Utah State Aggies Scoreboard

  • Utah State Aggies Team Leaders

  • Utah State Aggies Standings

Utah State Aggies

Utah State Aggies Football Andre Seldon passes away...

Chandler Holt

Utah State Mourns Loss Of Football Student-Athlete Andre Seldon Jr.

Utah State Football honored newly-transferred cornerback Andre Seldon who passed away in a tragic accident on Saturday.

8 hours ago


Amy Donaldson

Former Utah State Administrator Jerry Bovee Disputes School’s Accusations, Recounts Firing

When the pain of being fired from a job that was more of an identity than a paycheck feels unbearable, Jerry Bovee summons the reason he ever started chasing his dream of being a college athletic director.

13 hours ago


Chandler Holt

Blake Anderson’s Representation Releases Part Of Response To Utah State University

Former Utah State football head coach Blake Anderson's legal team released parts of his 70-page response to Utah State University.

2 days ago

Blake Anderson, Utah State, Administrative Leave...

KSL Sports

Utah State Terminates Football Coach Blake Anderson

Utah State announced they are moving forward with the termination of head football coach Blake Anderson after notifying him of their intent to do so early this month. 

2 days ago


KSL Sports

60 in 60: #32 Utah State’s Robert Briggs (Running Back)

The countdown is on for Hans & Scotty’s 60 in 60 for the 2024 college football season. Coming in at No. 37 is Utah State RB Robert Briggs.

4 days ago


Brian Preece

Jerrod Calhoun To Lead Utah State Basketball On European Tour

First-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun and the Aggies will play teams from across Europe on a tour that spans August 9-19.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Trajectory Of Utah State Football Program Led To Gary Andersen’s Dismissal