After a relentless flurry of rumors, estimations and reports, it looks like Texas Tech football has settled in on its new head coach.
His name is Matt Wells, and he’s joining Tech after six seasons at Utah State. Wells led the team to a 44-34 record during his tenure and finished the 2018 regular season with an impressive 10-2 record.
Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal was the first to report the news:
.@cmsilvajr and I have confirmed with two separate sources that Texas Tech is in negotiations with Utah State coach Matt Wells to make Wells the Red Raiders' next head coach.— Don Williams (@AJ_DonWilliams) November 29, 2018
Many fans are skeptical of the hire because of Well’s relatively uninspiring career record at Utah State and lack of any ties to Texas Tech or even the state of Texas itself. If we know one thing about the Red Raider faithful, it’s that they have a burning desire for a coach who wants to live in Lubbock.
It’s also a bit of a head-scratcher when you consider Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt claimed Kliff Kingsbury’s replacement would be “elite,” yet Wells is pretty much unknown to most of the college football world. What makes him elite? That’s a question Wells will have to answer himself.
The arguments against hiring Wells seem to hold more weight than those in favor of the move, but some statistics can be misleading. Opposers of the hire say Wells has three losing seasons out of the last four, but do you really count losing a bowl game as a losing season just because they went 6-7? I think that’s a little unfair.
The other problem is the turnover in staff, player transfers, and recruit decommitments that happen when you make a head coaching change, especially a lateral one. Tech’s going to lose arguably its best defensive coordinator of the 21st century. Will Alan Bowman transfer? Better yet, if Kingsbury takes the USC offensive coordinator job, will he transfer to USC?
So why Wells? What does Hocutt see in the Utah State coach that made him skip out on Bob Stoops, Dana Holgorsen (who had an interview lined up with Hocutt later today that was shockingly canceled) and Mike Leach? A 10-2 record is nice, but he still hasn’t won a single Mountain West Conference championship in six years—what makes him capable of winning the infinitely superior Big 12 Conference?
For starters, he played quarterback in college and we all know how important it is to have a QB-Whisperer at Texas Tech. His scoring offense at Utah State in 2018 was 3rd in the nation. He’s also still young and relatable to the players, and Utah State is his alma mater and he’s leaving for Texas Tech. That must mean Tech is his dream job, because not many coaches would voluntarily pack up and ditch the school they played for. Perhaps Wells is here for the long run. Perhaps he wants to build Tech into a power program and keep it that way.
In any case, Wells will have his work cut out for him and expectations will be sky-high during his first season in Lubbock.
We’ll be updating this story and adding other perspectives throughout this process, so stay tuned to Viva The Matadors for all the best coverage on this fascinating turn of events.