Now that summer is right around the corner, it is time for the annual glut of countdowns and lists that help us get through the offseason. And one of the first to be released this year isn’t too kind to Texas Tech football head coach Matt Wells.
CBSSports.com has released its annual ranking of all 65 Power 5 head coaches and you have to look awfully close to the bottom of the list to find Wells. In fact, he checks in at No. 60, second-lowest in the Big 12. Only Baylor’s Dave Aranda is behind him at No. 62.
It isn’t hard to see why Wells is so lowly regarded by CBS Sports. After all, he’s won just four games in both of his seasons on the job in Lubbock. And CBS points out that his career has been on a downward trajectory in recent years.
Author of the article, Tom Fornelli, writes, “Wells has been heading in the wrong direction. When first hired from Utah State, he debuted at No. 43 in 2019. He dropped eight spots to No. 51 after a 4-8 debut and drops another nine following a 4-6 season. I think that’s a bit harsh (I had him at 54) considering you can make a strong argument that Tech improved last season.”
What’s more, while Wells has been sliding during his time in charge of the Red Raider program, his downward trend has been going on since well before he arrived in Lubbock. That’s because his time as head coach at Utah State didn’t end with Wells setting the world on fire.
After putting together consecutive winning seasons in his first two years as a head coach (2013-14), he finished his Utah State career with just one winning season in his final four. Of course, that lone season was a 10-2 campaign in 2018 that he parlayed into the job with the Red Raiders.
But that season now feels like an anomaly. After all, it was a year in which Wells had eventual first-round NFL Draft pick, Jordan Love, playing QB for him.
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Outside of that season though, Wells has failed to put up a winning record since 2014. Therefore, it is no wonder that his ranking among his peers has fallen significantly.
Now, Wells enters 2021 in danger of being on the hot seat. In fact, the website Coaches Hot Seat has Wells ranked No. 37 on their list of coaches on the hottest seats in the nation. Though that site does not have Wells in their official “hot seat” category, he is in the next category, “edge of hot seat”.
What’s disturbing about Wells’ career for many Texas Tech fans is that he’s just 52-48 as a head coach. And many Red Raiders are quick to point out that he has been far from “elite” during his career, a term that athletic director Kirby Hocutt used repeatedly to describe what he wanted this football program to be when speaking to the media following the firing of Kliff Kingsbury.
Wells has yet to ever win a conference title though he did take Utah State to the MWC championship game in 2013. He’s also finished only one season with a national ranking (2018 when Utah State ended the year at No. 21).
Thus, ranking Wells as one of the worst Power 5 head coaches is fair. He’s got precious few skins on the wall and he’s yet to prove capable of building and sustaining a winning program. And if he can’t start to make significant progress towards doing that in Lubbock this year, he could find himself completely off of this list when it is released a year from now.