Matt Wells Will Not Coach Bowl Game, Will Be On Sideline
LOGAN, Utah – Utah State University announced that head coach Matt Wells will not coach in the Aggies upcoming bowl game. Assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Frank Maile will be the interim head coach.
Utah State Athletic Director John Hartwell held a teleconference with the media to give more details on the departure of Matt Wells, who accepted the head coaching job at Texas Tech on Thursday night.
Wells asked Hartwell if he can help Maile with the practice schedule and preparation for the Aggies bowl game while roaming the sidelines as a Utah State alumni, the Athletic Director responded “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Hartwell mentioned that Wells met with the team on Thursday night to inform them that he was going to Texas Tech. It was a very emotional meeting as the former head coach met with each player individually.
Search For New Coach
Utah State will hire a search firm to conduct the search for the next head football coach. They are using the same firm that hired basketball coach Craig Smith.
Hartwell is going to Salt Lake City to meet with the firm on Friday to work on a plan moving forward to find their next head coach.
“Credentials are very important,” Hartwell when asked what he will be looking for in the next head coach.
Coordinators Not Gone Yet
Many reports indicated that coach Wells was going to take offensive coordinator David Yost and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson with him to Lubbock, Texas.
Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt mentioned the coordinators joining the Red Raiders as well. Hartwell was asked if the coordinators were leaving.
“We are still working on that,” Hartwell said. He also mentioned that Matt Wells wanted to take the entire offensive coaching staff as well as Strength and Conditioning Coach Dave Scholz.
Utah State’s offensive ranked No. 3 in the country during the regular season.
Hartwell Offered Wells Extension
The Utah State Athletic Director offered Matt Wells a contract extension three weeks ago – before Texas Tech fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury – to be proactive. He was anticipating interest from other schools in Wells due to the successful 10-2 season.
Hartwell offered the extension to Wells and the entire coaching staff that included a 20 percent pay increase. The University was willing to invest $500,000 in the pay increases for the staff.
When Wells Was Offered TTU Job
Hartwell mentioned that he had an idea of Wells departing for Texas Tech on Tuesday when Hocutt called him to alert the USU AD that he wanted to meet with coach Wells.
“I knew when Kirby (Hocutt) called me, that the conversations were down the road but still going through the process,” Hartwell said.
Hocutt also reached out to Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson.
When Wells was presented with a contract from Texas Tech, Hartwell and Wells met at the Athletic Directors home to discuss the deal.
Hartwell did not talk about any potential candidates but early reports have come out about who could be in line for the Utah State job. Those individuals include Weber State head coach Jay Hill and former USU head coach and current Utah assistant Gary Andersen.
Some former coordinators at Utah State are being linked to the job that include Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, LSU DC Dave Aranda and former Utah State assistant and current Stanford defensive coordinator Lance Anderson.
Others being mentioned are Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, BYU assistant head coach Ed Lamb, Washington co-offensive coordinator Matt Lubick, Colorado interim head coach Kurt Roper and Troy offensive coordinator Vic Koenning.
Utah State will find out their bowl destination on Sunday.
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