New Alabama Baseball Coach Greg Goff has made the first hire of his coaching staff, taking one of his former players and assistant coaches. And to the surprise of no one, the new man, Jake Wells, has a history of helping batters.
Jake Wells, a former player under Goff at Montevallo, will serve as the Crimson Tide’s recruiting coordinator while also working closely with the team’s catchers. He has nine years of coaching experience, including working with catchers at Mississippi State (2013-14) and being hitting coach and recruiting coordinator the past two years under Goff at Louisiana Tech.
“I’m really excited that Jake has decided to come be a part of our staff here at Alabama,” Goff said. “He has played for me and coached under me, and he is one of the bright young coaches in the country. We are honored to get him on our staff. He is a tireless worker that will put forth a maximum effort each day.”
This year, Alabama had a .249 team batting average, tied for last in the Southeastern Conference. Bama’s slugging percentage of .350 was last and on-base percentage of .337 missed being last by .001. The Tide was last in the league in runs scored, 13th in the 14-team league in hits, last in runs batted in, and 13th in home runs, total bases, and bases on balls.
While at Mississippi State, Wells coached two catchers who went on to sign professional contracts and in 2014 coached Gavin Collins to All-SEC Freshman Team, the first honor for a Bulldogs catcher in the program’s 124-year history. MSU made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances including being a finalist in the 2013 College World Series while he was on the staff.
Most recently, Wells spent the past two seasons at Louisiana Tech as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for Goff. Under his tutelage, the Bulldogs were able to improve in nearly every hitting statistic from his arrival in 2015 through last season. The 2016 offense tied the program record for triples with 19, while accumulating 112 doubles and 2,052 at-bats (both third-most all-time), and swiped 90 bases, fourth all-time in program history.
In 2015, Wells’s first season in Ruston, the Bulldog hitters batted .261, an 11-point improvement from the previous year. Louisiana Tech also scored 100 more runs that season than the year prior and drove in 99 more. The Tech on-base percentage increased by .40 points from 2015 to 2016. Four men batted over .300 and seven had over 50 hits.
“Jake is a player’s coach,” Goff said. “He’s a high-energy guy with a lot of passion for the game of baseball, and he will always be available to help our players. He sets a high standard and expects the players to bring a positive energy and their best effort to the field every day.”
Prior to his time at Tech, Wells spent his two seasons as the volunteer assistant coach at Mississippi State while also serving as the camps coordinator for the Bulldogs. Wells worked with the catchers and also served as the first base coach during his two seasons. In the offseason, he was in charge of coordinating the team’s winter and summer baseball camps.
Before his time in Starkville, Wells spent two years as the head coach at Marion Military Institute beginning in 2008 as an assistant and ending with him in the head coaching role for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Over his five seasons in Marion, Wells coached 11 players who earned all-conference and all-region accolades.
The 33-year old has served as camp manager for youth baseball camps in Montevallo and Devine, Texas, while also managing the Alabama Special Olympics State Tournament.
Wells was an all-state catcher at Devine (Texas) High School. After his prep days, he continued his career at Blinn (Texas) College, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, and at the University of Montevallo under Goff.
He played professional baseball in the United League with the Laredo Broncos in 2009 and 2010.
Wells is married to the former Melissa Sherrod of Longview, Texas.