Along with Wells’ contract extension, the new deal also calls for continued salary increases for all of his assistant coaches.
“Matt had a great first year leading our football program. His commitment to our student-athletes has been tremendous and they’ve responded with great results in the classroom and on the field,” said Barnes. “Matt has deep roots here as a former Aggie quarterback and he conveys his passion for our great university on a daily basis.”
Barnes said Wells’ new deal could pay over $800,000 annually with incentives and includes guaranteed step increases in each year of his contract.
“I’m very appreciative of the support shown by President Stan Albrecht and Scott Barnes in our staff and myself,” said Wells. “We are motivated daily to continue the culture that has been set here at Utah State in the football program and we will continue to strive toward our goals of graduating our student-athletes on time, and competing for and winning Mountain West Championships.”
Wells wasted little time putting his stamp on the Aggie football program in his first season as head coach in 2013 as he led Utah State to the inaugural Mountain West Championship game after winning the Mountain Division of the conference with a 7-1 record. Wells also led Utah State to just its third-ever bowl victory as it posted a 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
For his efforts, Wells was named the 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year as he set the school record for wins by a first-year head coach as the Aggies finished the 2013 season with a 9-5 mark, tying the 1960 and 1961 teams for the second-most wins in school history.
Overall, Wells is the second USU coach in as many years and just the fifth in school history to garner conference coach of the year honors along with Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991), John L. Smith (1997) and Gary Andersen (2012). Wells is also the fourth individual to earn Mountain West Coach of the Year honors in his first season in the league along with BYU’s Gary Crowton (2001), Utah’s Urban Meyer (2003) and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun (2007).
During his first year as Utah State’s head coach, Wells mentored 14 Aggies who earned various all-Mountain West honors, including senior Tyler Larsen who was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports, Nevin Lawson who was named a third-team All-American by College Sports Madness, and linebacker Kyler Fackrell who was named a College Football News honorable mention sophomore All-American.
Furthermore, Wells coached a school-record four players who were invited to and participated in the 2014 NFL Combine in Larsen, Lawson, Maurice Alexander and D.J. Tialavea.
Wells, who is the 11th-youngest head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level and one of just 12 coaches to lead his alma mater, is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed its head football coach joining Chris Pella who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85.
Along with all of its accomplishments on the field, Utah State was just as successful in the classroom under Wells in 2013 as 22 players earned academic all-Mountain West honors, while all 22 seniors have graduated or will graduate from the University this spring, marking the sixth year in a row that USU has graduated every senior in its program.