Matt Wells leaves Utah State, officially announced as new head coach at Texas Tech

Utah State head coach Matt Wells gives the thumbs up to the game officials in the first half of an NCAA college football game, against Hawaii Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

It’s official, Matt Wells is leaving Utah State and heading to Texas Tech. Speculation has been swirling for the last week about schools showing interest in Wells to fill vacancies, particularly at the University of Colorado in the PAC 12 and Texas Tech in the Big 12. Thursday evening Texas Tech made the official announcement that Wells would be their next head coach.

Wells was just named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year (his second time receiving the award) after completing a 10-2 season. Wells was 44-34 over six seasons at USU and replaces Kliff Kingsbury who was let go after Texas Tech missed going to a bowl game and only won three Big 12 conference games this season.

USU Director of Athletics John Hartwell issued a statement Thursday evening about Wells’ departure.

“I would like to thank Matt and his wife Jen for their significant contributions to Utah State University,” Hartwell says. “Matt and his staff did an outstanding job of making Aggie football one of the best programs in the West. This is a special place and I am as excited as ever about our bright future.

“This is an extremely attractive job and we have already had tremendous interest from some very good football coaches and some very good people. We have a roster full of talented young men who represent Utah State University very well on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

We will move as quickly and efficiently as we can with this search, but at the end of the day, we want to make sure we have the right person to build upon our success.”

Hartwell is planning a press conference Friday morning to discuss USU’s next moves. Wells, meanwhile, will be introduced to the Texas Tech community on Saturday.

“Quickly in the interview process, it became clear Matt Wells and his leadership style were a perfect fit to lead our football program,” Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in a statement. “We have a great future in store under Coach Wells, and I firmly believe he is the right coach to take us to an elite level. We are thrilled to welcome Coach Wells and his family to Lubbock.”

My family and I are excited to join the Red Raider family,” Wells said in a statement released by Texas Tech. “I can’t thank Kirby Hocutt, Tony Hernandez and Dr. Schovanec enough for this opportunity. I am excited to meet the team and get to work on building an elite program that Red Raider fans will enjoy every Saturday.”

The Texas Tech announcement also says that David Yost and Keith Patterson will accompany Wells to Texas Tech. Yost, USU’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, is a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, which recognizes the top assistant coach in the country. Patterson, USU’s defensive coordinator, has been with the Aggies only one season but improved the Aggie defense significantly in 2018 compared to the 2017 season.

The questions for USU now are who replaces Wells and who coaches the team in their bowl game. A bowl announcement is expected to be made on Sunday, Dec. 2.

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