TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore announced today that he has accepted Jim Wells' request to return as the school's head baseball coach. Wells, 52, announced his retirement from coaching on Thursday, June 21, after spending 13 years as the school's head coach. He has compiled a 553-272 (.670) record.
"We had a very long discussion this morning and it became obvious to me that Jim has had a change of heart regarding this situation," Moore said. "It also was obvious to me that Jim is totally committed to achieving excellence in every phase of the baseball program. I think it's very important to note that Jim struggled greatly with his original decision to retire. That reflected the passion he feels about this University, the Alabama baseball program and the community at large. I am pleased that he has reconsidered that decision and I am confident that his commitment to this program is now stronger than ever."
"Talking about it with recruits, our players, the families and the coaching staff was difficult, but I thought I would get past that," Wells said. "Over the course of the last few days, I knew I just didn't feel right about it. I came to realize that I had personally rushed myself into that decision, that I didn't allow myself the time needed to really consider everything I needed to. So I felt the best way to handle it was to deal with this head-on, and I decided to talk with Coach Moore this morning. We talked at length and I let him know that the last few days have allowed me to step back and re-evaluate everything here. It made me realize that I haven't lost my passion for this job.
"A combination of things both personal matters and professional challenges had made me feel that this was a situation that had become difficult to manage recently. But I have worked out some things so that this is a very manageable situation, and I am more excited, energized and passionate about coaching the Alabama baseball team because I've been through this. I want to make it clear to everyone that this situation was totally driven by me, and I want to apologize to our fans, the administration and, most of all, to my players and the coaching staff.
"I know this is what I want to be doing and this is where I want to be, and I am looking forward to getting back to work. We have tremendous challenges and opportunities ahead of us, and I am eager to take those on."
Wells has guided Alabama to two Southeastern Conference Championships (1996 and 2006), six SEC Tournament Championships (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003) and 10 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 College World Series (1996, 1997 and 1999).
Wells became the school's all-time winningest coach during the 2006 season and set the record this past season for most games coached at Alabama. He became the school's all-time winningest coach as he notched his 488th victory on March 3, 2006 against Appalachian State to break the previous record of 487 wins held by Dr. Barry Shollenberger (1980-94). Wells set the UA standard by coaching his 823rd all-time game for Alabama on May 19, 2007 at Mississippi State, breaking the previous record of 822 games held by Shollenberger. Wells finishes his UA career with 825 games.
Overall, Wells spent 18 years as a Division I head coach and has compiled a 735-361 (.681) record in 1,106 career games. In addition, Wells has won five regular-season conference championships, eight post-season conference championships and taken 13 of his 18 teams to NCAA Regional play, with three teams advancing to the College World Series.
The Crimson Tide captured the 2006 SEC Championship with a 20-10 record this season. Alabama (44-21) won its sixth NCAA Regional championship and fourth under Wells last season. Bama played in the NCAA Super Regionals for the second time in school history and first since 1999. He 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.