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Commentary: MWC Coach of the Year Matt Wells proves he was the right hire

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 6:57 p.m. MDT

Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies celebrates during the fourth quarter of the NCAA football game against Hawaii in Logan, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.  (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies celebrates during the fourth quarter of the NCAA football game against Hawaii in Logan, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

LOGAN — When Matt Wells was hired as Utah State's new head football coach, he certainly had a lot of expectations coming his way. Gary Andersen, who left to take over the head-coaching job at Wisconsin, turned a program that was near rock bottom into a conference champion contender.

In four years at Utah State, Andersen compiled a 27-24 record, including an impressive 11-2 record during his final season. Andersen also led the football program to its first bowl victory (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) in 19 seasons.

While some programs around the country would have fired coaches with records like that, this was something to cheer about in Logan.

For a long time, the Aggies have been in the shadows of in-state rivals BYU and Utah. Before Andersen was hired and took over the program, the Aggies had won just nine games in the previous four seasons — less than three games a year. Andersen certainly turned the program around as he finished his coaching career with a winning record, which until that time, had not been done since Phil Krueger in 1973-75.

Utah State Aggies head coach Matt Wells hugs Utah State Aggies nose tackle AJ Pataiali'i (56) following the Aggies 24-17 loss to Fresno State during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013.  (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah State Aggies head coach Matt Wells hugs Utah State Aggies nose tackle AJ Pataiali'i (56) following the Aggies 24-17 loss to Fresno State during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

Wells was certainly stepping into a program that was on the rise as fans, alumni and players had high expectations. There were even some skeptics who didn't think Wells was the right man for the job. So has Wells delivered? Yes.

A lot has happened this season to the Utah State football program. First, it was the program’s first year in the Mountain West Conference. The quality of teams was certainly better than what fans were used to seeing in the Western Athletic Conference. Secondly, the Aggies were dealt big blows throughout the season as numerous starters went down with season-ending injuries.

Despite all of that, Matt Wells has led the Aggies to eight wins, a bowl game, Mountain Division title, MWC championship game and was named MWC Coach of the Year.

Need I say more?

What Wells has done this season shows why the school hired him as their head coach. While many expected a drop-off after Andersen left, Wells has made sure that his team competes at the highest level, bringing championships home to Logan. So far this season, he's certainly on his way.

Utah State Aggies head coach Matt Wells applauds a touchdown against Weber St. during NCAA football in Logan  Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah State Aggies head coach Matt Wells applauds a touchdown against Weber St. during NCAA football in Logan Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

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