Former Alabama Baseball Coaching Great Joins Staff at EMCC

By: From EMCC Sports Information
By: From EMCC Sports Information

SCOOBA – One of the all-time winningest baseball coaches in Southeastern Conference history, Jim Wells has returned to the collegiate ranks to serve as an assistant coach on Chris Rose’s baseball staff at East Mississippi Community College. Wells’ hiring has been approved by EMCC President Dr. Rick Young and EMCC Vice President/Director of Athletics Mickey Stokes.

A 2009 inductee into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Wells will oversee and advise EMCC’s coaching staff with day-to-day administrative and strategic aspects of the Lions’ baseball program.

“We are obviously very excited about having Coach Wells onboard here at East Mississippi Community College,” second-year EMCC head baseball coach Chris Rose said. “Coach Wells certainly brings with him an instant credibility to our EMCC baseball program that is in the process of building a winning tradition.”

“East Mississippi Community College is very pleased to have someone of Jim Wells’ national prominence among the collegiate baseball circles join our athletic family,” EMCC President Dr. Rick Young added. “His experience and knowledge of the game should have a tremendous influence on our outstanding student-athletes.”

Two years removed from the collegiate coaching ranks, Wells retired in 2009 after 15 seasons as the head baseball coach at the University of Alabama. Inheriting a once-struggling baseball program in Tuscaloosa back in 1994, Wells quickly revived and methodically transformed the UA program into a perennial SEC baseball powerhouse over two decades.

As the University of Alabama’s all-time winningest baseball coach with a career mark of 625-321 and .661 winning percentage, Wells guided the Crimson Tide to two Southeastern Conference championships (1996 and 2006), six SEC Tournament titles (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003), three SEC Western Division crowns (1996, 2002 and 2006), and 12 NCAA Regional appearances during his tenure. He also led UA to four NCAA Regional championships (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2006), two NCAA Super Regional appearances (1999 and 2006) and three trips to the coveted College World Series (1996, 1997 and 1999) in Omaha, Neb.

“I’m very happy and extremely thankful for the opportunity that Coach Rose and the entire administrative staff have given to me here at East Mississippi Community College,” Wells noted. “I’m really looking forward to being a part of an already outstanding coaching staff and coaching these excellent student-athletes.”

For his teams’ accomplishments at Alabama, Wells was twice named SEC Coach of the Year (1996 and 2002) by his coaching peers. In addition, he was tabbed National Coach of the Year by the Baseball America publication after directing the 1997 Crimson Tide ballclub to the finest season in school history. En route to producing a school-record 56 victories, the 1997 Alabama squad advanced to the national championship game of the College World Series on the heels of capturing the SEC Tournament title and subsequent NCAA South II regional crown. In addition, Wells earned 1999 South Region Coach of the Year honors by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

Along with the championship hardware he brought to the Capstone during his 15 seasons in Tuscaloosa, Wells helped produce 10 Major League players while more than 500 of his Crimson Tide standouts were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Along with the nearly 50 All-Americans he instructed on the field, Wells’ Alabama program also produced some 10 Academic All-Americans and a dozen other Academic All-District selections.

Prior to being hired at Alabama in 1994, Wells spent the previous five seasons (1990-94) as head baseball coach at his alma mater, Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La. While compiling a five-year mark of 192-89 (.683) at NSU, Wells led the Demons to back-to-back Southland Conference championships in 1993 and 1994 as well as NCAA Regional showings in 1991 and 1994. For his efforts, he was named Southland Conference Coach of the Year three times.

In his 20 combined seasons as a collegiate head baseball coach at Alabama and Northwestern State, Wells put together an impressive career coaching mark of 817-410 (.666).

Prior to his head coaching days, Wells spent three years (1987-89) as a graduate assistant coach for Skip Bertman at LSU. During Wells’ tenure in Baton Rouge, the Tigers won 143 games and two NCAA Regional titles with the likes of 1989 MLB first-round draft pick Ben McDonald and Albert Belle.

Wells is married to the former Lisa Breazeale of Natchitoches, La., and they are the parents of three children - daughters Lauren and Melissa, and son, Drew.

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