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College football: Texas Tech hires Matt Wells after success at alma mater Utah St.

College football: Texas Tech hires Matt Wells after success at alma mater Utah St.
Matt Wells gestures to officials during the first half against Hawaii in Honolulu. Texas Tech has hired Wells as its new football coach after he was part of an impressive turnaround at Utah State, his alma mater. (Eugene Tanner / Associated Press)

Texas Tech has hired Matt Wells as its new football coach after he was part of an impressive turnaround at Utah State, his alma mater.

Wells was 44-34 in six seasons as coach of the Aggies, who are 10-2 and headed to their fifth bowl in that span. He was an assistant at Utah State the previous two years, going to bowls both times, including a school-record 11 wins in 2012 when he was offensive coordinator.

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Wells, 45, replaces Kliff Kingsbury, the former Texas Tech quarterback who was fired after his third consecutive losing season and a 35-40 overall record in six seasons as head coach.

Updates

East Carolina fired coach Scottie Montgomery with the team 3-8 and assured its third straight losing season. Defensive coordinator Da-vid Blackwell will be the interim head coach for Saturday’s finale against North Carolina State. Montgomery went 9-26 with a 4-20 record in American Athletic Conference play. ... Tony Sanchez will return for a fifth season coaching at Nevada Las Vegas after going 16-32 in four seasons, including 4-8 this season.

Vandy player dies

Vanderbilt tight end Turner Cockrell died Thursday at home in Georgia after battling cancer for more than a year. He was 21.

Cockrell had surgery last December, and doctors said in July that his cancer had spread.

Cockrell was a scout team player in his first two years with the Commodores. In honor of Cockrell, the team has worn No. 82 stickers on their helmets this season. He wasn’t able to play because of his treatment.

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said in a statement: “Turner had a wonderful spirit and fought an incredible fight. He was a Vanderbilt Man through and through, and he will always be remembered here.”

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