Wells Earns State Baseball Honor
Alabama Baseball Coach Jim Wells will be joined by Randy Putnam (Wallace State-Hanceville), Ron Nelson (Central Phenix City High School) and Rick Patterson (Hueytown High School) as this year's inductees into the AlaBCA Hall of Fame. The group will be formally recognized at the annual awards banquet at the Birmingham Marriott on Friday.
Wells will also receive the ALABCA Division I Coach of the Year Award after leading the Crimson Tide to a 35-28 record and the school's 19th NCAA Regional appearance last season. He was also the organization's Coach of the Year in 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2006.
"This is a tremendous honor for me," Wells said. "To me, it's more about the players, coaches and people associated with your program. I am humbled by this honor and very appreciative."
Wells was named UA's head coach on June 4, 1994, and quickly revived a program that had become the doormat of SEC baseball. Wells inherited a team that won four SEC games in 1994 and one season later led the Crimson Tide to an SEC Tournament Championship and was one game from playing in the 1995 College World Series.
He has compiled a 588-300 (.662) record since his arrival in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has made three College World Series (1996, 1997 and 1999) appearances, won two SEC (1996 and 2006) championships and seven SEC Tournament (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003) titles. The Crimson Tide has also played in 11 NCAA Regionals – winning four – and two NCAA Super Regionals. Overall, Wells is 782-389 (.668) in 19 years at the Division I level.
In addition, Wells has seen 10 former UA players play Major League Baseball, including three first-time MLB players in 2008. The list includes Tim Young, Dustan Mohr, Lance Cormier, Paul Phillips, Andy Phillips, Taylor Tankersley, Jeremy Brown, David Robertson, Tommy Hunter and Wade LeBlanc.
Wells is sharing the platform this weekend with former Alabama baseball letterman Jerry Belk, the recipient of 2009 AlaBCA Distinguished Service Award. Belk is the former director of the Tuscaloosa County Parks and Recreation Center and has served as head coach at several Tuscaloosa high schools. He was also the head coach for the Tuscaloosa Post 34 team that captured the 1968 American Legion National Championship.
Belk played third base for Coach Tilden "Happy" Campbell and earned three letters from 1952-54. He was a career .300 (65 for 217) hitter with 42 RBI in 55 games. He hit .366 (15 for 41) as a senior in 1954 with a team-high six doubles. He led UA with 31 hits and two triples in 1952 and paced the club in at-bats (77) and RBI (12) in 1953. A standout defensive third baseman, Belk compiled a .956 career fielding mark at the hot corner and made only 10 errors in 228 chances.
The AlaBCA Hall of Fame is the second honor for the Crimson Tide head coach. He was inducted into the Northwestern State Hall of Fame in 2004 and his jersey No. 17 was also retired by his alma mater.
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