LUBBOCK, Texas – Matt Wells, a two-time Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year recipient, has been named the 16th head football coach in Texas Tech history, Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt announced Thursday evening.
Wells, who led Utah State to a 10-2 record and a top-25 ranking this season, will be formally introduced at an 11 a.m. news conference Saturday morning inside United Supermarkets Arena. The press conference is open to the public and will be streamed online at TexasTech.TV.
"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. We are thrilled to welcome Coach Wells and his family to Lubbock."
Wells compiled a 44-34 overall record at his alma mater, leading Utah State to five bowl appearances during his six seasons. Utah State had made only eight bowl appearances in its history prior to Wells' promotion from offensive coordinator after the 2012 season. Wells is the only head coach in Utah State history to lead the Aggies to at least three bowl games as well as multiple bowl victories.
Wells has pushed Utah State to two of its three 10-win campaigns in its history as the Aggies were 10-4 in his second season in 2014 and then 10-2 this season entering a potential bowl matchup. Utah State was also 9-5 during Wells' debut season in 2013, which marked the most wins for a first-year head coach in program history.
"My family and I are excited to join the Red Raider family," Wells said. "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."
Wells will bring both his offensive and defensive coordinator with him from Utah State as David Yost, a semifinalist for the Broyles Award (nation's top assistant coach), and Keith Patterson will fill the same role they had with the Aggies. Utah State is currently ranked 24th in the Amway Coaches Poll and recently appeared in the College Football Playoff poll.
The Aggies have featured one of the most dynamic offenses in the country this season, averaging 47.2 points per game, which trails only Oklahoma and Alabama among schools nationally. Entering its bowl game, Utah State is slated to snap the single-season record for scoring average that was set in 1961 as the Aggies are averaging over 30 points per game for the third time under Wells.
Part of Utah State's success on the scoreboard has stemmed from its defense as the Aggies rank second nationally with six defensive touchdowns this season. Utah State also shares the FBS lead with 18 interceptions to go along with 10 fumble recoveries for an Aggies' defense that ranks third nationally with 28 takeaways. Utah State is plus-11 in the turnover margin, which sits eighth nationally entering this weekend.
Strong defenses have been a staple under Wells as the Aggies are allowing only 23 points per game this season, marking the third time during his tenure Utah State has surrendered 25 points or less. The Aggies gave up only 17.1 points per game in 2013 and then 19.7 points per game the following year.
Wells collected his second Mountain West Coach of the Year honor earlier this week, making him just the fifth Mountain West coach to receive the honor twice, joining the likes of Sonny Lubick, Rocky Long, Urban Meyer and Gary Patterson. He also received the accolade following his debut season in 2013.
Prior to accepting the head coaching position, Wells spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Aggies, serving as quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator in 2011 before being promoted to offensive coordinator a year later. Utah State won 18 games in those two seasons, including a school-record 11 victories in 2012.
Utah State claimed the 2012 Mountain West title, its first outright conference championship since 1936 and just its third in school history with Wells as the offensive coordinator. That season, Wells directed an Aggie offense that set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108), completions (285) and total yards per game (469.8).
Wells, a quarterback for the Aggies from 1994-96, was a member of two conference championship teams as a student-athlete, which came as a redshirt freshman in 1993 and as a senior in 1996 when Utah State was a member of the Big West Conference. The Aggies defeated Ball State, 42-33 in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl II for the school's first-ever bowl victory.
A native of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, Wells returned to his alma mater following his second stint as an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico. Wells served as the Lobos' wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 2007-08 and then rejoined the staff as wide receivers coach in 2010. In between, he was Louisville's quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the 2009 season.
Prior to his first stint at New Mexico, Wells spent five years (2002-06) as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa and five years at the U.S. Naval Academy (1997-01) as its quarterbacks, fullbacks and wide receivers coach. He was also the junior varsity head coach and offensive coordinator for three years.
Wells earned his bachelor's degree in business marketing from Utah State in 1996, graduating cum laude. He and his wife, Jen, have two daughters, Jadyn (15) and Ella (12), and one son, Wyatt (9).
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT MATT WELLS…
"Matt Wells is a highly talented and successful coach whose achievements on the field are matched by his commitment to developing young men into leaders. I commend Kirby Hocuttfor his thoughtful and thorough navigation of this process. I am excited for the future of our football program, and I ask all Red Raiders to join with me in welcoming Matt Wells into the Red Raider family." – Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University President
"I really respect Matt Wells' strong presence and leadership. I've seen his track record, and he's had a really long and strong record of success that I believe will continue at Texas Tech. His brother, Luke, was a player and assistant for us at Oklahoma. I'm excited for Matt to begin his career at Tech, and I believe he'll do a great job." – Bob Stoops, former head coach at Oklahoma
"I'd like to congratulate Kirby Hocutt on the hiring of Matt Wells. He is a winner and the future of Texas Tech Football is bright. I am proud to be part of the Red Raider family and can't wait for next fall." – Gary Petersen, founder of EnCap Investments L.P.
"I am excited about the future of Texas Tech Athletics. Kirby Hocutt continues to show time again why he is the best athletics director in the country. His vision and resolute decision making continually sets him apart. Congratulations to Coach Wells and his family." – Ed Whitacre, former Chairman and CEO of General Motors and AT&T Inc.
"There is great respect in the Mountain West for the 2018 Coach of the Year, Matt Wells. He has developed a very strong program at Utah State is well-versed in all aspects of high-level FBS football. He is a complete head coach." – Craig Thompson, Commissioner of the Mountain West Conference