SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Kyle Whittngham reached into Utah’s storied past for his new offensive coordinator.
Andy Ludwig has been hired to replace Troy Taylor, who left to become the head coach at Sacramento State.
Ludwig, a Bonneville High graduate, spent four seasons as Utah’s offensive coordinator from 2005-2008, leaving after Utah’s Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama.
“It’s great to have Andy back on our staff,” said Whittingham. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a collegiate offensive coordinator, as well as being an outstanding quarterbacks coach and recruiter. Andy is obviously very familiar with our program which should make for a seamless transition.”
“My family and I are very excited to return to the University of Utah,” said Ludwig. “I have great respect and appreciation for the University’s commitment to the student-athletes, Coach Whittingham’s leadership, and the passion of the Ute fan base. I look forward to the hard work and am grateful for this opportunity.”
Since leaving Utah, Ludwig has coached at Kansas State, Cal, San Diego State, Wisconsin and for the last four seasons at Vanderbilt.
Under Ludwig’s leadership, the Commodores were the 59th best offense in the nation, a vast improvement over the 125th ranked he inherited four years ago. Vanderbilt finished the 2018 season with a record of 6-7, including a victory over Tennessee.
Ludwig was also an offensive coordinator at Fresno State and Oregon.
In 2008, Ludwig was a finalist for FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year after Utah led the Mountain West and ranked 15th nationally in scoring, averaging 36.9 points per game. In 2005, the Utes led the MWC in total offense (473.0 yards per game) and pass efficiency offense, ranking 12th and 10th respectively nationally. In 2005 and 2006, Utah finished second in the league in passing offense and finished 12th in the nation in 2005. The 2007 Utes were second in the league in rushing offense.
Ludwig helped rewrite the Wisconsin record book in his two seasons with the Badgers, posting a 20-7 record from 2013-14 and making consecutive Jan. 1 bowl appearances. The 2013 Badgers averaged a school-record 480.8 yards per game, while averaging the third-most points in school history (34.8). The 2014 squad nearly matched those totals, averaging 34.6 points and 468.9 total yards.
As the Fresno State offensive coordinator, he was a 2001 Broyles Award finalist (awarded to the nation’s top collegiate assistant coach) when the Bulldogs averaged 40.0 points and nearly 500 yards per game—ranking fourth in the nation in both categories. Fresno State was the first school in NCAA history to feature a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher in a single season.
Ludwig has coached a number of award winning players, among them Utah quarterback Brian Johnson, the 2008 MWC Most Valuable Offensive Player and 2009 Sugar Bowl MVP.
He has coached two Heisman finalists— Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon in 2014 and Fresno State quarterback David Carr in 2001. Gordon rushed for 2,587 yards in 2014, establishing the second highest single-season rushing total in NCAA FBS history. Carr was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, as well as the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Sammy Baugh award winner after leading the nation in passing yards (4,839) and touchdowns (46) in the 2001 season.
Ludwig’s latest protégé, Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur, became the school’s all-time passing leader in 2018, throwing for 8,865 yards and 64 touchdowns in his career.
Ludwig is a proponent of a balanced offensive attack and he has coached a 1,000-yard rusher 15 times in his FBS coaching career, including Utah’s Quinton Ganther (1,120 in 2005) and Darrell Mack (1,204 in 2007). He coached a pair of 1,000-yard rushers at Wisconsin in 2013 in Gordon (1,609) and James White (1,444). His latest 1,000-yard rusher was this season at Vanderbilt (Ke’Shawn Vaughn, 1,244 yards). Ralph Webb finished his Vandy career in 2017 as the school’s all-time career leader in rushing yards (4,173) and rushing touchdowns (32).
Ludwig’s other coaching experience was at Portland State, Idaho State, Augustana (S.D.), Boise State and Cal Poly-SLO.
An Ogden, Utah native, Ludwig played wide receiver at Snow College from 1982-83, then transferred to Portland State, where he lettered in 1985-86. He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Portland State in 1988.
It is unclear whether interim offensive coordinator Jim Harding, who was also being considered for the job, will remain on staff.
An official announcement is expected to be made by the university on Friday.