Year In Review: Grading Gary Andersen And His First Year As Wisconsin’s Head Coach

3 of 5

Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

The Culture He’s Created:

I cannot say enough about culture that Andersen has brought to Madison. His ingenuity for traditions and sincere passion for Wisconsin football is breeding something magical in Madtown — not that it wasn’t already magical. My favorite part of the culture in which he’s instituted is the “Big Brother” Program, where upperclassmen are assigned freshmen (and transfer student-athletes) to look out for around campus; and mentor. But the program doesn’t end there. Each new Badger begins practicing without the “Motion W” on their helmet; but a black stripe instead. The “Big Brother” then decides when the younger player has earned the right to wear the prestigious “W” on their helmet at practice. It’s an awesome idea. It’s a rite-of-passage that gives the team more unity and a collective respect for what it means to play for Wisconsin.

Andersen also has made the practices more fun, fast-paced and often has loud music blaring the whole time. One thing I like is that he requires all players to know and sing “On Wisconsin,” the university’s fight song. These are things that Bielema would never have instituted. Andersen is new, fresh and enthusiastic. His pre-game speeches are shown on the big video board for the whole stadium to see and his excitement for the Badgers cannot be questioned. Coach A has even changed the helmets for some games, as he understands that fashion is important in recruiting and in staying relevant in today’s college football. Wisconsin is suddenly hip, and the culture that’s growing will only enhance that. His culture is a winning culture, and a culture that is attractive to top recruits. He’s doing it right.

Grade: A