The decision wasn’t easy, but a change had to be made. No matter how much it still might sting to see former quarterback star Kliff Kingsbury let to go from his head coaching duties, the Texas Tech Red Raiders must move on and look ahead with optimism.
While most of the college football world got wrapped up in where Kingsbury might land, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt was making moves to find the best fit for the future in Lubbock. Turns out, he found that in Utah State head coach Matt Wells.
“Quickly in the interview process, it became clear Matt Wells and his leadership style were a perfect fit to lead our football program,” Hocutt said. “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.”
So who is Matt Wells? Here are the six things you need to know about the new Texas Tech head coach:
1. He’s A Former College Quarterback
As a three-year letterman at Utah State from 1994 to 1996, Wells played in 16 total games for the USU Aggies, throwing for 2,013 yards with 11 touchdowns. He was a redshirt freshman during Utah State’s 1993 Las Vegas Bowl and was on the roster for the 1996 Big West Conference co-championship team.
2. He Started His Coaching Career at Navy
After leaving Utah State, Wells spent five years at the U.S. Naval Academy. He did a little bit of everything for the Midshipmen, too, coaching quarterbacks, fullbacks, wide receivers and served as the junior varsity head coach for three years. Wells also had stints at Tulsa, New Mexico, Louisville before returning to his alma mater in 2011.
3. He’s Been A Part of Every Utah State Bowl Win
Utah State began playing football games in 1892, but the Aggies have only won four bowl games in the program’s history. Wells was there for all of them. He was a redshirt freshman when USU won the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl against Ball State. When he returned to coach the Aggies, he was the offensive coordinator for the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win against the Toledo Rockets and was the head coach for 2013 Poinsettia Bowl win over Northern Illinois and the 2014 New Mexico Bowl victory over UTEP.
4. He’s Only 45 Years Old
Some might say age is irrelevant here, but it is definitely relevant for Texas Tech. After taking a little bit of a gamble, and somewhat failing, with a young Kingsbury, the easy decision would have been for Hocutt to hire an older football coach with more Power 5 coaching experience. Instead, the Red Raiders chose to hire Wells, the two-time Mountain West Coach of the Year. If it works out, there will be some great football in Lubbock for many years to come with a coach seemingly in his prime.
5. His Team Can Put Up Some Points
Texas Tech fans will love this. For a fan base used to watching the Red Raiders score an insane amount of points, Wells’ Utah State team ranked third nationally with 47.2 points per game in 2018. Oh, and the Aggies had a crazy-fast offense, too, so it should almost be the perfect marriage.
6. He’s Bringing Two Good Coordinators With Him
Compiling a 44-34 overall record over six seasons to help turnaround the Utah State program, Wells has had some great coaches underneath him. The good news about the hire is he will be bringing offensive coordinator David Yost and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson with him to Lubbock after an impressive 10-2 season in the Mountain West Conference in 2018.
Get ready, Red Raider fans. It looks like you have a pretty solid new head coach ready to take the Texas Tech football to new heights in the Big 12.