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Utah State football: A.D. John Hartwell issues letter supporting coach Matt Wells

Published December 1, 2016 10:41 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

One day after telling The Salt Lake Tribune that football coach Matt Wells will return next season, a letter of support from Utah State athletic director John Hartwell was sent to Aggie fans and posted on the school's web site.

In it, Hartwell says, "… We have complete confidence that coach Wells is the man to lead us moving forward."

Utah State finished 3-9 this season, including 1-7 in the Mountain West Conference. Going back to last year, the Aggies have lost 14 of their last 19 games, including nine straight on the road.

On Wednesday night, Hartwell's sent this letter to Utah State fans:

"Thanks for your continuing support of Aggie Athletics. The vision for our football program, consistent with the vision for all our other sports, is to put ourselves in contention to play for conference championships and be a regular post-season participant.

"In reflecting on the recently completed football season, we did not meet the expectations of our student-athletes, our coaches, our administration, or our fan base. The level of success over the previous five years (43 wins vs. 24 losses and five straight bowl appearances) has become our measuring stick.

"Head coach Matt Wells has been a vital part of that success, and no one is taking the disappointment of this season harder than him. The sting of this season will be a driving force for all of us associated with our football program to make the changes and sacrifices necessary to regain the winning edge.

"Coach Wells and I have had multiple meetings over the last few weeks to examine our entire football program. The goal and expectation is to get our program back to the level we all enjoyed over the previous five seasons. We have complete confidence that coach Wells is the man to lead us moving forward. He and I agree that there will be some changes made as we start preparations for a successful 2017 season.

"We ask that you continue to support us in our pursuit of excellence for Utah State Athletics.

"Go Aggies!"

On Tuesday, Hartwell said much the same thing during an interview with the Tribune.

"Obviously, 3-9 is not where any of us want to be or expected to be," Hartwell said at the time. "But the difference between winning and losing is such a fine line. Yes, a couple of times we were not in the ballgame. But, when you look back at the season, you see many games that could have gone either way."

Hartwell declined to discuss the changes that are going to be made to the program.

"Matt and I have had a continuing dialogue," Hartwell said. "He has been receptive to the ideas we've been talking about."

A former Aggie quarterback, Wells' record as head coach is 28-25. His current contract, which was extended before the 2015 season, runs through 2019.

— Steve Luhm






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