Texas Tech coach Matt Wells has been fired after three seasons in Lubbock, athletic director Kirby Hocutt announced on Monday. Wells, in his third year with the Red Raiders, finishes at 13-17 overall with the program. The Red Raiders went just 7-16 in Big 12 play under his stewardship.
Offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie has been named interim head coach. Cumbie, a former Texas Tech quarterback, joined the program in 2021.
Despite a 5-3 start to the season, Wells' fate was sealed after the Red Raiders gave up a 14-point lead against Kansas State in Week 8, potentially ruining a shot at their first bowl since 2015. Texas Tech has four games remaining, but all are against ranked programs. The Red Raiders are 2-3 since losing starting quarterback Tyler Shough to a shoulder injury against Texas.
The former Utah State coach has been on the hot seat for almost his entire tenure after taking over for Kliff Kingsbury -- now 7-0 in his third season coaching the Arizona Cardinals. The Red Raiders went 8-14 over Wells' first two seasons, with six losses coming by one score or less.
Texas Tech dealt with major quarterback issues each of Wells' three seasons. Starter Alan Bowman suffered season-ending injuries in each of Wells' first two seasons, leaving Jett Duffey and Henry Colombi to clean up. Though Texas Tech beat out several high-profile programs for Oregon transfer Shough, he has missed most of the season with injuries. Wells' Utah State teams were built around future NFL first rounder Jordan Love under center, but he struggled to recapture the magic with so much turnover at the position in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders have leaned heavily on the transfer portal in Wells' tenure with some success. Penn State transfer DB Zech McPhearson notably worked his way up to a fourth round pick. However, the high school recruiting and development has struggled to fill in the depth gaps.
Texas Tech has not reached eight wins since Kingsbury's first season in Lubbock in 2013 and hasn't won at least nine games since 2009. Former coach Mike Leach, now at Mississippi State, led an 11-2 season behind quarterback Graham Harrell and star receiver Michael Crabtree in 2008, marking the apex of the program since the 1970s. Texas Tech has not won an outright conference championship since 1955.