Matt Wells gave Cache Chamber of Commerce members a lesson on “building on success” and “how we can get there,” using his position as the new Aggie football head coach and the business model he uses with his team as an example during the Cache Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet Tuesday at Utah State University.
“It’s a roller coaster ride in coaching, and I’m glad it’s stopped here for a while,” Wells said in his initial remarks to chamber members. “A lot of you guys are Aggies. ... One of the things I’ve been saying over the last six weeks is, ‘It’s the greatest day ever to be an Aggie.’”
An assistant coach at USU the past two seasons, the 39-year-old Wells is now the 11th-youngest head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. Dating back to 1919, Wells is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed the school’s head football coach.
The Cache Chamber event included dinner, an awards presentation in nine categories, and a silent auction — with a portion of the proceeds going to CAPSA. Additionally, Mark Hurst, a private consultant from Salt Lake City who is responsible for the “Life Elevated” slogan for Utah, gave a presentation on branding Cache Valley.
The 2013 winners are as follows: LD Bowcutt, owner of LD’s Cafe, for small business of the year; Alan Lower, of Lower Foods Inc., for family-owned business of the year; Robert Campbell, of Juniper Systems, for entrepreneurial success; James Clawson, of Great Harvest Bread Co., for culinary business of the year; Paul Simkins, a Cache Valley accountant, for financial services lifelong advocate; Brent Chambers, race director for the LOTOJA Classic, for event of the year; Anthony Hall, of Lewiston State Bank, for the Logan Downtown Alliance project of the year; and Kent Stanley, development officer for USU Athletics, for outstanding athletic program.
A standing ovation came after the Chamber’s “Citizen of the Year” award. The recipient was Merrill Daines, a Logan doctor and longtime chamber member, recognized “for all of his outstanding accomplishments and for his support of community ... and individuals,” according to Sandy Emile, CEO of the Cache Chamber of Commerce. A video presentation of him was played during dinner.
Daines reflected on his time with the Chamber in an interview before the dinner.
“I’ve been involved with the Chamber since coming to Logan just to start in practice,” he said. “I figured the more businesses you knew, the more business you had. As members, we’ve had a lot of fun.”
Lisa and James Clawson, of Great Harvest Bread Co., said they’ve been to a few of the Chamber’s banquets before and were honored to receive an award this time.
“The Cache Chamber gets the word out and shows the best of what we’ve got to offer in Cache Valley,” Lisa Clawson said.
Wells said the USU football team — which recently lost Wells’ predecessor, Gary Andersen, to the University of Wisconsin — is coming off its best season ever with 11 total wins, including six at home — both school records — and an outright conference championship for the first time since 1936.
“How can we keep this thing going?” Wells said. “You got the answer, let me know. But the environment has changed, though. Everything has stepped up a notch — the teams, the coach’s decisions, the facilities.”
He explained that to keep the football team “the best,” instilling simple life lessons is his model.
“I believe in helping young men find the way to win every day, and we have to do that every day in life, whether it’s academically or out in the community. I’ve discovered this is my passion ... to build leaders,” Wells said. “What we teach these kids is pretty simple; we’re very direct, to the point, and it’s not real hard. This is our business model; this is what works. We need to improve it and modify it consistently.”
Wells said in training the players, “we do a lot of things outside the box.”
“We don’t go by the books — we train our guys differently,” he said. “We do things to create an uncomfortable atmosphere for those young men so when the plan breaks down on the way to Idaho, it’s not a big deal.”