Jim Wells, the longest tenured coach in the Southeastern Conference, has retired as the head coach at Alabama, effective today. He will be replaced by assistant coach Mitch Gaspard, who agreed to a three-year deal promoting him to head coach.
Wells took over as Alabama’s head coach when Barry Shollenberger retired in 1994. He led the Crimson Tide to three College World Series appearances in the 1990s, and the Tide has won six SEC touarnament titles in his tenure.
Wells, 54, briefly retired in the summer of 2007, then un-retired six days later. A few weeks after that, Alabama added Gaspard to its staff, hiring him away from Northwestern State, where he was the head coach. Gaspard served as an assistant under Wells at Northwestern State in 1993-94 and at Alabama from 1995-2001, and it was widely assumed that he returned to Tuscaloosa in 2007 to become the head coach-in-waiting.
"We are confident that our program—with its tremendous heritage and tradition—will continue to be competitive at the highest level," Alabama director of athletics Mal Moore said in a statement. "Mitch is uniquely qualified to take over our program at this time. We’re very fortunate to have a coach and recruiter of Mitch’s quality already on the staff. I am confident and excited about the direction of our baseball program. We are having an excellent year in recruiting and fall practice is getting started."
Wells, 54, departs as the winningest coach in Alabama baseball history. He coached the Crimson Tide for the past 15 seasons and compiled a 625-322 (.656) record. So Gaspard has big shoes to fill, but he is unquestionably prepared for the assignment.
"My background as a head coach for six years and being an assistant here for so many years have prepared me to be the coach of the Crimson Tide," Gaspard said. "Also, I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Jim Wells.
"He is without a doubt one of the best baseball coaches I’ve ever been around. His service to the university has been exemplary, not only the way his teams played on the field but in the way his teams conducted themselves in the classrooms and in the community. Lastly, I look forward to having the opportunity of working with our current players who are already here and recruiting more top-notch student-athletes to come represent the University of Alabama."
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog