November 09, 2010
Former Alabama coach Jim Wells is no stranger to making bizarre career decisions, but his latest gig has surprised many in the college baseball community. Wells decided at the end of October to become an assistant at Calvary Baptist Academy, a medium-sized private school in Shreveport, La.
Perhaps Wells simply wanted to return to his home state, but it's not everyday a former SEC coach decides to return to the career as a high school assistant. The decision is even more puzzling considering Wells is the all-time winningest coach in Alabama history.
Calvary head coach Rodney Traweek, who struck gold by hiring Wells, welcomed him with open arms.
"I feel like, by adding him, it's given me kind of a Dream Team of assistant coaches," he told the Shreveport Times. "He'll help us in so many ways. He'll be a big help to me as a head coach."
Wells is expected to help the Cavaliers in a variety of ways. For instance, he'll help the program with pitching and hitting. He also will lead the program's communication with college coaches around the country.
"I think it's great for those players that he's going to be around the program at Calvary. His knowledge of the game is second to none and he always has had a great passion for coaching," Current Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. "It's not everyday you can get the all-time winningest coach in the history of an SEC school to coach at your high school."
Ponder the accomplishments Wells brings to the table as a high school coach.
In his 15 seasons as Alabama's coach, Wells guided the program to three College World Series appearances, two SEC titles, four 50-win campaigns and 12 40-win seasons. He also compiled a 522-246 (.680) record during his tenure in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Wells spent 20 seasons as a Division I coach, spending five seasons at Northwestern State (La.) before heading to Alabama.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time we've been surprised by a Wells decision.
After the Crimson Tide finished the 2007 season with a 31-26 record and failed to reach the NCAA postseason, Wells, without anyone's knowledge, abruptly announced his retirement. Insiders believe Wells was frustrating with the lack of facility renovations.
Just a few days later, Wells had what he called a "change of heart", and returned to the program.
He again made a bizarre decision in September of 2009 when he again announced his retirement following a campaign that ended with the Crimson Tide going 0-2 in an NCAA Regional and ending the campaign with a 37-21 record.
This time, Wells didn't have a change of heart. Instead, Mitch Gaspard took over and guided the Tide to an NCAA Super Regional appearance against Clemson in his first season.
Wells obviously missed coaching baseball, whether it's at the collegiate or high school level. There's a good chance he could net a job as an assistant somewhere at the Division I level. There's also a good chance he could find a job as a high school head coach.
But a gig as a high school assistant?
One thing is for sure, the 55-year-old likes to make things interesting.