17
Jim Wells
Jim Wells

Position:
Head Coach

Experience:
16th Year

Alma Mater:
Northwestern State, 1981



The success of the Alabama baseball program dates back to the turn of the century.

The Crimson Tide is the winningest baseball program in Southeastern Conference lore, with more than 2,000 all-time wins, 25 conference championships, 19 NCAA Regional appearances and five trips to the College World Series.

Since his arrival to the Capstone on June 4, 1994, Jim Wells had continued that tradition of excellence and in the process has set Alabama records for most coaching appearances and most coaching victories on the baseball diamond.

This year, Wells was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the orgainzation's annual meetin and awards banquet at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel on Jan. 16, 2009. With the ABCA honor, Wells now belongs to two Hall of Fame groups, including his alma mater, Northwestern State. The Demons also retired her jersey (No. 17) during the 2003 season.

Wells begins is 15th season in the Alabama dugout this spring and is the lonegest-tenured active SEC head coach.

He has compiled a 588-300 (.662) record in 889 games at Alabama and is the school's all-time winningest coach. He set that standard with his 488th victory on March 3, 2006 as the Tide downed Appalachain State at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Two years ago, Wells set the UA record for most games by a head coach with his record-breaking 823rd game at Mississippi State on May 18, 2007 in Starkville. Dr. Barry Shollenberger held the previous school record in both categories.

Overall, Wells begins his 20th season as a Division I head coach, where he has compiled a 780-389 (.667) record in 1,169 games.

In his 19 previous seasons, Wells has won five regular-season conference championships, eight post-season conference championships and taken 14 of his 19 teams to NCAA Regional play, with three teams (1996, 1997 and 1999) advancing to the College World Series.

Alabama played in its 11th NCAA Regional in 14 years under Wells last season, advancing to the 2008 Conway (S.C.) Regional as the No. 3 seed. The Crimson Tide went 35-28 last season, including a 16-14 league mark, which was second in the SEC Western Division and tied Kentucky for fourth place in the overall standings. Alabama won its last five SEC series, including wins over No. 22 Florida and No. 6 Georiga to close out the regular season.

The Crimson Tide captured the 2006 SEC Championship with a 20-10 league record. Alabama (44-21) won its sixth NCAA Regional championship and fourth under Wells and played in the NCAA Super Regionals for the second time in school history and first since 1999.

Alabama has won six SEC Tournament (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003) titles during Wells tenure.

Wells has twice been named SEC "Coach of the Year" (1996, 2002) by his peers. He was named Southland Conference Coach of the Year three times. The Bossier City, La., native was named Alabama's 29th head baseball coach on June 4, 1994.

The tradition of Alabama baseball goes back into the 19th century. Alabama has won more SEC Championships (14) than any other school. The Crimson Tide has also put more than 60 players in Major League Baseball, the best total in SEC lore.

Wells made his mark on that Alabama tradition with his first season in 1995. And, he has been building on that foundation ever since. Alabama wrapped up his rookie season (1995) with a 42-23 record and its first national ranking since 1991. Along the way, Wells directed the Crimson Tide to a school-record tying 18 SEC wins and the 1995 SEC Western Division Tournament Championship. The Tide posted four consecutive come-from-behind wins in four days to win its first post-season tournament since 1983. UA's 8-7 win over LSU in the tourney opener, snapped the Crimson Tide's 10-game tourney losing skid.

Wells also became the school's winningest first-year head coach when Alabama defeated Samford, 12-5, on April 5, 1995. It was his 22nd win for the Tide, breaking the previous record of 21 wins set by J.W.H. Pollard in 1907. In addition, his .646 rookie winning percentage was the second best in Alabama history. Tilden "Happy" Campbell posted a 10-2 (.833) mark in his first year for the Tide in 1935. The 1995 season ended with a runner up finish to Clemson at the NCAA East Regional on the Clemson campus. A hard-fought game with Clemson ended a storybook season that fell just one game short of the College World Series.

In 1996, Alabama won the SEC Championship. It was the Crimson Tide's first SEC title since 1983 and first regular-season crown since 1968. The Crimson Tide also landed its first-ever NCAA Regional at Sewell-Thomas Stadium and won that 1996 South I Regional championship with wins over Princeton, South Alabama, Stetson and Virgina to advance to the College World Series for the first time in 16 years. The Crimson Tide entered the CWS as the No. 1 seed and after a dramatic win over Oklahoma State in the first round, the Crimson Tide lost its next two games to Miami and Clemson and the season ended with a school-record 50 wins.

The following year (1997), Alabama put together its finest season in school history as the Crimson Tide won a school-record 56 games and played in the national championship game at the College World Series. The hard work by the Alabama coach and his staff paid off as the Tide mentor was tabbed Baseball America "National Coach of the Year" after that record-setting season. Alabama shattered numerous school, SEC and NCAA records along the way to hosting its second consecutive NCAA Regional at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide won the NCAA South II Regional championship against the toughest six-team bracket in the 48-team field. The Crimson Tide posted wins over Troy State, Wichita State, North Carolina State and Southern California. The Shockers and Trojans were ranked in the Top 10 in the country while the Wolfpack held a Top 20 national ranking.

The Crimson Tide clinched its second straight trip to the CWS with a 9-8 (10-inning) win over USC in the South II title game. Matt Frick's two-out, solo home run provided the winning margin in what remains as one of the most exciting games in the Wells era. It was ironic that a home run would propel the Tide back to the CWS. The Crimson Tide hit a school-record 160 home runs in 1997, the third-highest mark in NCAA history. In addition, the Tide became the only team in NCAA history to have four players with 20 or more home runs. Dustan Mohr (25), Roberto Vaz (22), G.W. Keller (21) and Robbie Tucker (20) all eclipsed the 20 home run barrier in 1997.

The Crimson Tide also led the nation in runs scored (679), hits (860), total bases (1,571) and captured the NCAA statistical national championship with a .621 slugging percentage. The school-record clip was 100 points higher than the previous UA record set in 1983. Alabama's .621 slugging mark is the second highest in NCAA history. The 1979 Wichita State team set the record with a .625 slugging percentage. Alabama's 860 hits were the most by a Division I team since Wichita State pounded out 914 hits in 1991. The 1,571 total bases were the most since Florida State's 1,580 total bases in 1985.

In addition to his Baseball America award, Jim was also the recipient of the Sington Soaring Spirit Award, presented by the Sington Foundation. The award is named for the late Alabama football and baseball letterman Fred Sington, who was one of the most distinguished sports leaders in this state's history. Wells is only the third coach to be honored, and the first baseball coach.

In 1998, Wells guided Alabama to a 46-18 overall record and a runner-up finish to Long Beach State at the NCAA West Regional at Palo Alto, Calif. The Tide entered as the number-two seed at the six-team regional, but lost 5-3 to the 49ers in the title game, missing its third straight trip to the CWS. Alabama also finished 19-10 in the SEC, which ranked them second in the Western Division behind LSU and third overall. Bama also finished third at the SEC Tournament, snapping its string of three straight post-season championships.

In 1999, Wells directed Alabama to its third College World Series appearance since 1996, posting a 53-16 overall record en route to a fourth place national ranking. He led Alabama to the best overall record in the SEC and posted a second-place finish in the SEC with a 21-9 league record, one-game behind league champion Arkansas (22-8). Wells led the Crimson Tide to its fourth SEC Tournament title in five years with a perfect 4-0 mark at 1999 SEC tourney. He directed the Crimson Tide to an undefeated NCAA regional post-season, winning all three games from Navy and Southern Miss (twice) at the NCAA Regionals in Tuscaloosa. The Tide swept LSU in a best-of-three NCAA Super Regionals to advance to Omaha.

Alabama set or tied 34 school records in 1999 and set the NCAA record with 13 home runs in a 30-4 win at UAB (April 14, 1999). For his efforts, he was named South Region Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

In 2000, Wells guided Alabama to a 41-24 overall record and a sixth-straight trip to the NCAA Regionals, finishing runner-up to College World Series participant Stanford in the Palo Alto Regional.

The Tide's string of seven straight NCAA Regional appearances came to end with a 32-23 record in 2001, but the absence was short-lived.

After a one-year absence from the post-season scene, Wells not only returned his troops to the 64-team field in 2002, , but he also landed the Crimson Tide the No. 3 national seed and the school's fourth NCAA Regional Tournament at Sewell-Thomas Stadium since 1995. The 2002 squad posted the school's fourth, 50-win season en route to the SEC Western Division Championship and SEC Tournament Championship. For his efforts, Wells was voted SEC "Coach of the Year" by his peers. The honor was the second by Wells at Alabama and the fifth time in his career he had been voted conference "Coach of the Year". He was named Southland Conference "Coach of the Year" three times while at Northwestern State.

In 2003, the Crimson Tide claimed its second consecutive SEC Tournament Championship with wins over South Carolina, Auburn (twice) and LSU at the Hoover Met. The four wins landed the Crimson Tide a No. 2 seed at the College Station (Texas) Regional.

After missing out on the NCAA Regionals in 2004, Alabama was back in the national limelight in 2005 with another 40-win season and a trip to the NCAA Regionals. The Crimson Tide went 40-23 in 2005 and finished runnerup to No. 1 ranked Tulane at the NCAA New Orleans Regional played on the Tulane campus.

The Tide won its 14th SEC Championship and 25th overall conference baseball title in 2006 and captured the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Championship with wins over Jacksonville State and Troy (twice) to earn its second trip to the NCAA Super Regionals. Alabama lost both games to No. 5 North Carolina and ended the season with a 44-21 overall record. Alabama posted a 31-26 record last season and advanced to the SEC Tournament for the 11th time in Wells' 13 seasons as head coach.

Prior to being named head coach at Alabama, Wells compiled an impressive 192-89 (.683) mark at Northwestern State, his alma mater from 1990-94, where remains the school's winningest all-time coach. He was named the Louisiana Sportswriters Association 1994 "Coach of the Year".

In his five-year tenure at Northwestern State, Wells averaged nearly 40 wins per season and had the Demons in the NCAA Regionals two times. In addition, he was selected as Southland Conference Coach of the Year three times.

In 1990, Wells became head coach at his alma mater, Northwestern (La.) State, his first full-time collegiate coaching position. He inherited a program that had suffered 13 consecutive losing seasons in a state that was full of Division I baseball playing schools (13 to be exact). He won his first 20 games as a head coach at Northwestern State in 1990 and the following year (1991), he guided the Demons to the SLC Championship and a berth in the school's first-ever NCAA Regional, losing to Louisiana Lafayette and the eventual national champion LSU Tigers at Alex Box Stadium.

The Demons won back-to-back Southland Conference championships in 1993 and 1994 and participated in the 1994 NCAA Midwest I Regional in Stillwater, Okla. In 1993, NSU posted a 40-14 (.741) record, including an 18-6 conference mark. The highlight of the season was an upset of eventual national champion LSU. The Demons posted a 6-3 win over the Tigers in front of a record-crowd (3,388) in Natchitoches.

Wells guided the Northwestern State to a school-record 45-15 (.750) mark in his final season. The Demons also won the SLC, its third title in five years under Wells. NSU compiled an 8-3 ledger against Top 25 foes. The 1994 Demons set 19 school and SLC records.

Northwestern State University retired Jim Wells No. 17 prior to the Alabama-Northwestern State game on April 9, 2003 at Brown-Stroud Field. A large contingent of Wells' family and friends were in attendance for the pregame ceremony. In addition, Wells was inducted into the Northwestern State University Athletic Hall of Fame during the 2004-05 school year.

Prior to his days at Northwestern State, Wells spent three years as a graduate assistant coach at LSU. During his tenure in Baton Rouge, the Tigers posted a 143-57 (.715) record and two NCAA Regional titles (1987 and 1989). He coached outfielders and hitters on LSU teams that ranked fourth nationally and participated in the College World Series. Among the notables at LSU during Wells' three-year stay was 1989 first-round draft pick Ben McDonald and Albert Belle.

After coaching summer league teams while in college and then serving as head coach at Loyola Prep High School (1982-86) for five seasons, Wells landed his first collegiate job, serving as a graduate assistant coach for Skip Bertman at LSU (1987-89). His baseball career was enhanced by Boots Garland, a close personal friend of Wells and his father.

Wells earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Northwestern State in 1980. He earned his master's degree in education and administration from LSU in 1989. Prior to his days at LSU, Wells was the basketball and baseball coach at Loyola Prep (1982-86).

Wells was born March 21, 1955. He is married to the former Lisa Breazeale of Natchitoches and has three children, Lauren, Melissa and Drew.

	JIM WELLS' COACHING LEDGER

Year School Record Notes 2008 Alabama 35-28 NCAA Conway Regional SEC Tournament Participant 2007 Alabama 31-26 SEC Tournament Participant 2006 Alabama 44-21 SEC Co-Champions NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Champions NCAA Super Regional Participant 2005 Alabama 40-23 NCAA New Orleans Regional Runner-up SEC Tournament Participant 2004 Alabama 29-26 2003 Alabama 38-24 SEC Tournament Champions NCAA College Station Regionals 2002 Alabama 51-15 SEC Western Division Champions SEC Tournament Champions SEC "Coach of the Year" NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Runner-up 2001 Alabama 32-23 Ended the season with four-game winning streak 2000 Alabama 41-24 NCAA Palo Alto Regional 1999 Alabama 53-16 College World Series (4th Place); NCAA Regional Champions NCAA Super Regional Champions SEC Tournament Champions ABCA South Region "Coach of the Year" 1998 Alabama 46-18 NCAA West Regional Runner-up 1997 Alabama 56-14 College World Series Runner-up NCAA South II Champion SEC Tournament Champion Baseball America "Coach of the Year" 1996 Alabama 50-19 College World Series (T5th Place) SEC Champions SEC Tournament Champions NCAA South I Regional Champions SEC "Coach of the Year" 1995 Alabama 42-23 SEC Western Division Tourney Champs NCAA East Regional Runner-up UA's winningest first-year coach 1994 Northwestern St.45-15 Southland Conference Champions NCAA Midwest II Regional Louisiana "Coach of the Year" Southland Conference "Coach of the Year" 1993 Northwestern St.40-14 Southland Conference Champions Southland Conference "Coach of the Year" 1992 Northwestern St.29-26 1991 Northwestern St.40-21 Southland Conference Champions NCAA South I Regional Southland Conference "Coach of the Year" 1990 Northwestern St.38-13 NSU's first winning season in 13 years.

     
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