Eye on the Y: Will Gary Andersen raid BYU’s staff in his second go-round at Utah State?

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake (right) discusses strategy with assistant head coach Ed Lamb (middle) and cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford (left) during a recent game. Sitake could lose a coach or two to Utah State, which has hired Gary Andersen to replace Matt Wells.

Provo • BYU football coach Kalani Sitake told me last week that he expects his coaching staff to stay intact this offseason.

But that was before current Utah assistant and former Wisconsin, Oregon State and USU coach Gary Andersen landed the Utah State job for the second time. Andersen is replacing Texas Tech-bound Matt Wells, the coach who replaced him. Of course, Andersen has ties to several BYU coaches, most notably Sitake, defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki, passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick and assistant head coach Ed Lamb from his time at Utah and Southern Utah.

Wednesday, I asked Roderick if he has any interest in joining Andersen up north — perhaps as USU’s new offensive coordinator.

“I don’t really have any comment about that. I haven’t heard from him,” Roderick said. “I am really happy for him. Gary’s someone I owe a lot to. He gave me my first job. He recruited me. He has done a lot of nice things for me. I wish him the best, but I am really happy here.”

Lamb and Sitake were out recruiting during Wednesday’s practice and post-practice interview sessions and not available for comment.

However, Sitake said Monday that he has talked to Andersen recently and was excited that his longtime friend and coaching mentor is leading a program again.

“It is going to be competitive,” Sitake said. “We are always going to have our friendship, but I am looking forward to going up to Logan next year and trying to compete and get that win. I am happy for him.”

Stories from the past week

Yoeli Childs was hampered by a sore throat Wednesday and held to 13 points, but TJ Haws picked up the slack with a career-high 30 points in the Cougars’ 85-66 win over Portland State. (Trib)

It is rematch time at the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships, as No. 4 BYU meets No. 1 Stanford in a Final Four match after the Cougars handed the Cardinal its only loss in the regular season. (Trib)

When it comes to football and women’s volleyball, BYU never has any trouble messing with Texas. The Cougars volleyball team swept the Longhorns last Saturday to advance to the Final Four. (Trib)

BYU’s 74-59 win over Utah in the Beehive Classic will be remembered for Childs’ hammer dunk that earned him a spot on SportsCenter’s top 10 and his third-straight 31-point performance. (Trib)

Looking at the future of the Beehive Classic — will the event live on after next year’s games? (Trib)

Other voices

Sitake addressed the media last Monday as the Cougars continued preparations to meet Western Michigan in the Potato Bowl. (DNews)

BYU’s Haddock twins — Lyndie and Lacy — lost their father last year. Despite their grief, they have provided plenty of leadership to the Final Four-bound women’s volleyball team. (DNews)

Marc Lyons is preparing for his final BYU football broadcast after 38 seasons as a color analyst for KSL radio. (DNews)


BYU’s bowl game against Western Michigan on Dec. 21 in Boise will determine whether the Cougars (6-6) finish the season with a winning or losing record, but Sitake said he’s not worried about that.

“I am just trying to get a win,” he said. “I have been around some really good coaches that know how to prepare for a bowl game. We are utilizing a lot of that with our schedule. Kyle [Whittingham] has had a great system going in bowl prep and we are doing a lot of the same kind of stuff. I have been able to work with Kyle and Gary [Andersen]. It worked out for us when we went to our first bowl game in 2016 and so now we are implementing some of the same stuff, and probably doing a little bit more with the time we have been given.”

Around campus

• Is BYU a volleyball school? It certainly is now, with the Cougar women’s volleyball team playing in the NCAA tournament’s Final Four. First serve against No. 1 Stanford is at 5 p.m. and the match will be televised by ESPN.

Wednesday, senior outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry was named a First-Team All-American and middle blocker Heather Gneiting was named National Freshman of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Setter Lyndie Haddock-Eppich, libero Mary Lake, outside hitter McKenna Miller and middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg also received All-America recognition.

• BYU owns a large lead in the West Coast Commissioner’s Cup standings at the conclusion of the fall sports seasons. The Cougars won league titles in men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. BYU has 40.0 Cup points; 2nd-place Portland has 31.5.

• BYU’s women’s basketball team gave undefeated Utah a good game last Saturday at the Huntsman Center, but faltered in the second half and fell to 6-3 on the season. The Cougars host former MWC foe Colorado State (4-4) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Marriott Center. BYUtv will televise the contest.

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