UPDATED: Wells Retiring

Alabama's all-time winningest baseball coach Jim Wells is leaving.

Jim Wells is retiring as head coach of the University of Alabama baseball team after 13 season, an athletics department source confirmed Thursday afternoon.

Wells, 52, met with Alabama athletics director Mal Moore on Monday afternoon to discuss the future of the program, when sources said he indicated his intention to leave the program.

No reason was given for the decision, but Wells has been frustrated by a perceived lack of support in terms of facilities improvements. Alabama was 31-26 this season, and missed an NCAA Regional.

After being the No. 4 national seed last year and making it to a Super Regional, Wells had conversations with LSU athletics director Skip Bertman, the legendary former coach, about the vacant LSU head coaching position. Wells withdrew his name from consideration for the position after meetings with Moore.

Although Alabama has had renovations to Sewell-Thomas Stadium over the years, it is considered below the standards of most baseball facilities in the SEC. A new scoreboard with a video screen was installed for the 2007 season.

On Wednesday, Wells' secretary said he would be out of the office for the rest of the week. He was said to be tending to a family matter in Louisiana.

Wells has compiled a 553-272 in his career with the Crimson Tide.

Alabama played in 10 NCAA Tournaments in 13 years under Wells. UA also won six SEC Tournament (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003) titles. Wells was twice been named SEC "Coach of the Year" (1996, 2002) by his peers.

Wells is married to the former Lisa Breazeale of Natchitoches and has three children, Lauren (17), Melissa (12) and Drew (7).

OFFICIAL RELEASE FROM UA

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jim Wells, the winningest coach in University of Alabama baseball history, announced his retirement on Thursday afternoon, UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore announced.

"Coach Wells has served our baseball program with class for the last 13 seasons," Moore said. "I was saddened to hear of his wish to retire, but I completely understand and respect his reason for making this decision. After having several conversations with Jim over the last few days, it became evident to me that he feels strongly about this decision. I wish him the best in his future pursuits."

"Over the course of the last week, I have had discussions with Coach Moore about leaving the University of Alabama," said Wells. "There comes a time in everyone's career when they have to make decisions on what is best for all concerned. This was a decision that was not easy for me, because my family and I have the deepest love and respect for the University of Alabama. I have been extremely fortunate to be the coach of the Crimson Tide and compete at the highest level at one of the nation's most prestigious Universities and in one of the best athletic conferences, the SEC. First of all, I want to thank my family for the support they've given me during my years in coaching. I look forward to spending more time with my wife and three children as well as my mother.

"No one has success in athletics without loyal and dedicated assistant coaches and we always had a staff that was committed to the student-athletes and the University. Of course, the one thing I will miss will be the players. We have had some outstanding competitors over the years, and I'm proud that so many have gone on to be successful when they left Alabama. Finally, I want to thank (former UA athletic director) Hootie Ingram for believing in me back in 1995 and offering me this opportunity to be a part of the Alabama athletic family. I also want to thank all the support personnel who did so much for our program through the years; and of course, the loyal fans who made Sewell-Thomas Stadium a unique place to compete."

Wells, 52, has coached the Crimson Tide for the past 13 seasons and compiled a 553-272 (.670) record.

Wells led 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). ‘

He set the UA standard by coaching his 823rd all-time 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.

A native of Bossier City, La., Wells was born March 21, 1955. He is married to the former Lisa Breazeale of Natchitoches and has three children, Lauren (17), Melissa (12) and Drew (7).


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