Gary Andersen of Utah State the ‘Best Fit’ For Colorado Buffaloes

Gary Andersen Utah State Aggies

Douglas C. Pizac-US Presswire

For anyone who has missed this week’s news cycle, the Colorado Buffaloes are searching for a new head coach. A 4-21 record over two seasons including a 1-11 this year, was enough for CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn to terminate Jon Embree.

After an awkward press conference, and a little controversy over the racial element of CU’s decision, the Buffs must move on. Now, the question becomes who will replace Embree as the top dog for Colorado football. A name that has been circulating is current Utah State Aggies coach Gary Andersen.

Bohn has to hit a home run with this this hire. With all eyes on the Colorado program and two swings and misses on the current AD’s resume, Bohn has everything riding on the next man to roam the sidelines of Folsom Field.

CU is in an odd predicament  Embree was the lowest compensated coach in the Pac-12. The Colorado brass made it clear in their press conference that their goal is a conference championship. Money will have to be spent to prove the Buffs aren’t looking to solve the problem on the cheap.

Former Kansas Jayhawks coach Mark Mangino has been rumored to be high on Colorado’s list. According to Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera, CU has no interest in Mangino.

The best choice for Colorado is the one that fits their “culture.” Andersen fits like a glove. In the coaching circles, Andersen is a vogue choice because of his success in Logan. Anderson took the reigns of a program that had won more than four games twice in the 12 years previous to his tenure.

Since Andersen began coaching the Aggies, Utah State has steadily improved all the way to a current 10 win campaign and a current BCS ranking of 20. Another positive for the CU administration would be his price tag.

Bohn has made it clear the Buffs are willing to go into the two million range for a yearly salary. Andersen makes just over 400,000 for Utah State. With only four years as a mid-major head coach, a gig in the Pac-12 could be luring enough for Andersen to strike while the iron is hot. With that being the case, CU would likely not have to spend out of the comfort zone, and maybe well within it.

Of course, there is the negative that Colorado must deal with if Andersen is hired. His track record is small and outside of 2012, his Aggies went 15-22. What his record does show is the ability to take a three win team and improve it. Exactly what the Buffs need, and a fact that Bohn can point to in justifying the hire.

For CU fans that are hoping for a “name” hire, don’t count on it. Reportedly, the recently fired Jeff Tedford has no interest in the Colorado job because of the difficulty to win in Boulder. Apparently coaches aren’t dumb. Tedford has seen what has transpired on the CU campus over the past decade, and won’t touch Ralphie with a ten foot pole. I’m sure he isn’t alone in that sentiment.

Tim DeRuyter is a nice candidate as a former coordinator at the Air Force Academy but would likely command a slightly larger price tag. Plus his Fresno State Bulldogs are already Mountain West champions. Whatever rebuilding DeRuyter was brought in to do has been done. Fresno State was in much better shape than Utah State giving the edge to Anderson.

Colorado clearly must make a statement they are serious about winning, and a coach like Andersen is their best option right now. Any quality coach that needs the Buffs more than they need them is a rare commodity. Beggars can’t be choosers. Andersen is exactly the man Boulder is looking for. He is proven, inexpensive, and would probably love to upgrade to a major conference.

Strike two Bohn. Make it happen.

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James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow James on Twitter as well.

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