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Matt Wells, other Utah State sources quash Wake Forest rumor

Published December 5, 2013 12:18 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Logan • A rumor sparked tweet saying Matt Wells was "on the verge" of becoming the next head coach at Wake Forest was summarily quashed by Matt Wells and several Utah State sources on Wednesday afternoon.

Wells said to print media and in a radio interview that he had "no idea" about the rumors and they only came to his attention after practice. The first-year head coach led his Aggies through drills as usual Wednesday in preparation for the Mountain West championship game on Saturday, and he donned full Utah State gear.

Other sources cast doubt on the rumor as well. A source close the administration reported that there had been no talks about Wells between Wake Forest and Utah State. Athletic director Scott Barnes works with Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman on the NCAA men's basketball committee and they stay in frequent communication, yet the source said the two men have not discussed Wells.

Another source close to Wells said they would be "extremely surprised" to see Wells leave his alma mater after one year, citing his ties to Logan and his early start in his coaching career among other factors.

Several football observers have speculated that Wells could be in the running for other jobs this year after taking an injury-riddled 3-4 Utah State team and winning five straight games to win the Mountain Division. Some blogs have even speculated that Wells could be a candidate to lead the Demon Deacons.

The tweet that set off the mini-firestorm has since been deleted.

Since this is a blog, I'll take this chance to offer my analysis: Even beyond the reporting, it seems surprising that Wells would accept a job in a week when his team is playing for a championship. Since he took his current job in December, Wells has talked about winning a conference championship as his individual goal and his team's number one goal. Wells may well take a job someday out of Logan, but seems against his character to time it in the middle of the week before the biggest game of the season.

Also, Wells is nothing if not cautious. He evaluates every situation thoroughly before going forward, as reflected in how he took his time hiring his coaches, and how he even decided to stay in Logan rather than go to Wisconsin. Wells did have a dream of coaching his alma mater, but he didn't accept the job blindly: With his players, facilities and administrative support, he was well-positioned to succeed in year one.

In the ACC, Wake Forest is rarely at the top of the division and won't likely be topping Florida State and Clemson in the standings anytime soon. Departing coach Jim Grobe is the most successful coach the Demon Deacons had in school history, and he was 77-82 in 13 seasons there.

Although it may not be a Wisconsin-level job that finally comes calling, you can bet if Wells does leave Logan, it will be for a job that doesn't just offer more money, but opportunity to succeed as well.

This week, as he's said many times, he's worried about winning a championship.

— Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon