Wells tabbed as football coach, replacing Andersen
A look back at changes over the holiday break
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 13:01
In an effort to maintain continuity, Utah State Athletic Director Scott Barnes announced that offensive coordinator Matt Wells will be Gary Andersen’s successor as head football coach after Andersen accepted the head coaching position at the University of Wisconsin.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled to be the next head football coach at my alma mater,” Wells said. “This is a university that molded me as a student-athlete, and I am fully invested in and passionate about continuing the vision for this football program that was set before me. I would like to thank University President Stan Albrecht and Mr. Barnes for the trust, belief and vision they have in me to lead this program.”
Wells, the university’s 27th head coach, said his primary focus as head coach was to fill out his coaching staff and to hit the recruiting trail. As was the case under Andersen, the coaching staff will focus first on in-state recruiting, followed by out of state.
Having been promoted from offensive coordinator, Wells said the offense will maintain a “spread, up-beat tempo,” and the defense will be very similar to the way it was under Andersen.
Wells spent the past two years working with an offense that ranked 23rd in the nation in total yardage and set four school records in total points, total offense, completions, and total yards per game.
Prior to Utah State, Wells spent time at Navy, Tulsa New Mexico and Louisville before returning to his alma mater. Every position Wells held involved working on the offensive side of the ball.
Barnes and Wells each stressed that players were the number one priority for the program and that they would make decisions based on what was best for the players.
Players were excited for Wells to take the helm.
“I’m very excited for him and happy for what he has accomplished, moving up the coaching ranks,” said sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton. “I anticipate Coach Wells doing great things for Utah State University and this community. I am definitely happy about him returning after spending my first two years in college working with him as my position coach. We return a lot of players on both sides of the ball, and it is going to be fun to watch how this team progresses under his leadership.”
Since his appointment, Wells has made several hires to the coaching staff and announced several others that will remain on the staff.
Defensive line coach Frank Maile, defensive backs coach Kendrick Shaver, wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight and linebackers coach Kevin Clune will all remain on staff while Kevin McGiven will take over as co-offensive coordinator.
McGiven spent the 2012 season as the offensive coordinator at Montana State, helping the Bobcats to an 11-2 record and a Big Sky championship while averaging 33.4 points per game. This will be McGivens’ second position at USU after serving the 2009 season as assistant head coach to Gary Andersen.
Wells also announced the hire of Luke Wells, his brother, who will serve as co-offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach after serving as tight end and wide receivers coach at Iowa State.
“I am very happy to announce Luke Wells as a member of our staff,” said Matt. “Luke’s background in the Big 12 Conference for the last four years along with his familiarity with spread and no-huddle offenses will be very beneficial here at Utah State. His background in recruiting Texas will be an integral part of our recruiting efforts and we are happy that he and his family are joining our Aggie football family.”