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USU football: Anderson out as head coach, two administrators dismissed

A man in a football uniform hugs another man.
Eli Lucero
The Herald Journal
Utah State head coach Blake Anderson hugs wide receiver Jalen Royals (1) after a game against Colorado State last season. Anderson was put on administrative leave Tuesday morning.

It appears Utah State will be in the search of a new head football coach.

Early Tuesday morning Blake Anderson was summoned to a meeting where he was relieved of his duties and put on administrative leave. The 29th head coach in program history is no longer in charge of the Aggies.

Pete Thamel of ESPN reported it first on X Tuesday morning. The Herald Journal has reached out to the USU athletics department for comment.

Thamel stated on X: “Sources: Blake Anderson is on administrative leave from head coaching duties at Utah State.”

Fifteen minutes after the original post, Thamel stated on X: “Blake Anderson is not expected to return as coach, per sources.”

Then 22 minutes after his second post, Thamel stated on X: “Sources: Utah State has informed the football team that coach Blake Anderson is on administrative leave and unlikely to return. Defensive coordinator Nate Dreiling has been named interim coach.”

Later Tuesday morning the university posted a story on its website. Not only had Anderson put on leave, but former interim athletics director Jerry Bovee and USU director of player development for the football team Austin Albrecht had been dismissed.

The release from the university began: “Utah State University officials informed Head Football Coach Blake Anderson on Tuesday of their intent to terminate his employment agreement for actions taken in spring 2023. These actions violated both his employment agreement and university policy. Under his employment agreement Coach Anderson will have 14 days to respond.

“This decision comes after a thorough external review of alleged noncompliance with university policies that implement Title IX, which require full and timely reporting of disclosures of sexual misconduct — including domestic violence — and prohibit employees from investigating disclosures of sexual misconduct themselves.”

Then the release talked about Bovee and Albrecht.

“Associate Vice President & Deputy Athletic Director of External Affairs Jerry Bovee (Interim Athletic Director, 2023) and Utah State Football Director of Player Development & Community Austin Albrecht have also been dismissed for violations of university policies related to the reporting of sexual and domestic violence and failures of professional responsibilities.”

The university said no more details could be related at this time, stating Uah’s public records laws and USU policies. There is a minimum of 14 days for these actions to be appealed, which is why the university will not comment further at this time.

Like Thamel reportered first, the football team members were informed. Athletics Director Diana Sabau met with the team and football team staff to inform them Anderson was no longer in charge and to announce Dreiling would be the interim head coach for the 2024 season.

An email was sent to faculty and staff at USU from Sabau and university president Elizabeth Cantwell.

“As leaders, we are responsible for ensuring allegations of USU policy violations are investigated. Today’s actions are the result of a thorough external investigation, and we believe the evidence demands immediate action. Our job is to fearlessly hold ourselves and others accountable for their conduct and to make sure that, for the sake of our students and our community, we are living the values of our university. While recognizing the impact of these decisions on our student athletes and football program, we will continue to take the steps necessary to deliver a respectful, transparent and winning culture at Utah State University.”

Dreiling is in his first season at USU as the defensive coordinator and in charge of the defensive ends. He spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at New Mexico State.

The season opener for the Aggies is Aug. 31, when they host Robert Morris in Maverik Stadium.

Anderson and his wife, Brittany, just had a child on June 29. They both posted about it on X.

Anderson was hired by USU on Dec. 12, 2020. In three seasons at the Aggie helm, Anderson went 23-17, including 15-9 in Mountain West Conference play.

During his first year at USU, he guided the team to its first-ever Mountain West championship. The Aggies beat No. 19 San Diego State, 46-13, in the league title game and went on to beat Oregon State, 24-13, in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. It was the schools sixth-ever bowl win, and the 11 victories that year tied the school record for the most in a season. USU finished the season nationally ranked for just the fifth time ever, coming in at No. 24.

USU went to bowl games in all three years Anderson was in charge. He was just the second head coach at USU to accomplish that feat.

Before coming to USU, Anderson was the head coach at Arkansas State for seven seasons. He has an overall mark of 74-54 as a head coach in 10 seasons.

In 30 years of coaching at the collegiate level, Anderson spent time as an assistant or coordinator at North Carolina, Southern Miss, Louisiana, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico, Trinity Valley Community College, Howard Payne and Eastern New Mexico.