LOGAN, Utah – The men’s basketball coach who recruited Wayne Estes to Utah State and led the Aggies to a pair of Sweet-16 appearances and one Elite Eight showing died on Sunday. LaDell Andersen, who coached the Aggies from 1961-71, was 90.
A former walk-on, Andersen lettered as an Aggie basketball player from 1949-52 and also served as the school’s athletics director from 1973-82. He was a two-time all-Skyline Conference pick as a guard.
The native of Malad, Idaho, was also invited and competed in the 1952 United States Men’s Olympic Basketball team tryouts in New York City.
Andersen was hired in 1956 as an assistant coach under Jack Gardner at Utah. He left the Utes in 1961 to become the head coach of his alma mater, where he helped the Aggies flourish over the next 10 seasons.
During his tenure with the Aggies, Utah State made five appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including the program’s lone trip to the Elite Eight in 1970, losing to eventual national champion UCLA. USU also made the National Invitation Tournament during the 1966-67 season.
In his first season at Utah State, Andersen led the Aggies to a 22-7 overall mark. Those 22 wins were the most by a first-year head coach in program history until current head coach Craig Smith won 28 games (also losing seven) in his first year at the helm in 2018-19.
Andersen, the third-winningest coach in school history, finished with a 173-96 (.643) overall mark during his time at Utah State. He also tutored five All-Americans during his tenure, including Estes, Cornell Green, Shaler Halimon, Marvin Roberts and Nate Williams
After guiding the Aggies for 10 seasons, which included four conference coach-of-the-year honors, Andersen coached the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association for two seasons, leading the team to a pair of Western Division titles and a 115-43 (.684) overall record.
Andersen returned to his alma mater again to serve as Utah State’s director of athletics for 10 years from 1973-82. Highlights of Andersen’s stint as the Aggies’ AD included overseeing the addition of 10,000 seats to Maverik (formerly Romney) Stadium, which brought the capacity of the facility to 30,257, lobbying for USU’s admission into the Big West Conference and establishing the women’s athletic program, which produced national titles in volleyball and softball.
Andersen was inducted into the Utah State Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.
Following his final stint at USU, Andersen returned to coaching in 1983, this time at BYU. He coached the Cougars for six years, leading them to four postseason appearances and a 114-71 (.616) overall record.