Proven winner sees potential in new Knights
Hired as the Knights’ coach last month, Wells brings with him a wealth of experience and plenty of success from his time at San Diego High School, along with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for his new gig.
“I felt that I had achieved everything I could there,” Wells said. “I just thought I was ready for a change. It was a professional decision.”
Wells amassed a career record of 147-26 in five-plus seasons at San Diego High and experienced plenty of postseason success. In his first three seasons, his teams advanced to the CIF-San Diego Section Division I semifinal round, and in two of his last three seasons the team won the section title. San Diego High also played in the CIF-State championship game in 2004.
Last year, Wells was named Coach of the Year by the San Diego Hall of Champions .
Wells was a junior varsity coach in the boys basketball program for three seasons at San Diego High - the same school he graduated from years earlier - before taking over the girls varsity program. He also coaches and serves as an administrator with the Elite Basketball Organization, a youth basketball club that provides top-level competitive travel teams for seventh- and eighth-graders and high school players.
Wells, 33, replaces John Farrell, who coached the Knights for two years and directed them to the CIF-State playoffs. The new coach said he had little doubt once he met with the staff at Bishop’s that the small private school in La Jolla was where he belonged.
“I met with the administration for an interview and saw what the school had to offer for me, my family and the kids in the program, I just thought it would be a perfect fit for me,” Wells said. “The administration here is great.”
The differences between San Diego High and Bishop’s are not hard to see. At his previous stop, many of the athletes came from difficult circumstances, while his new job will put him in a private-school environment where those difficulties are almost non-existent.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the athletes he’ll be dealing with are that dissimilar, Wells said. Whether getting away from outside distractions or escaping for a few hours from a rigorous academic schedule, basketball practice provides an outlet for the kids, he believes.
“As with any new situation, it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but coming from San Diego High, we always set high academic standards for our athletes,” Wells said. “I’m looking forward to it. It really is a great group of kids that we have there.”
Wells has worked with athletes long enough that he has developed a unique coaching style. He said he is not an overbearing presence on his players, but rather lets them play the game.
“My philosophy is getting up and down the court,” he said. “We want to put a lot of points on the board and make the games exciting. Fortunately, I’ve always had some of the top scorers in the county. I’ve had the type of players who can get up and down the floor and score a lot of easy baskets off the turnover and score in transition.”
Wells said his practices are demanding physically, but there is also a heavy emphasis placed on developing the basics and the finer points of the game.
“I do more teaching,” he said. “This is high school, and I don’t think there’s a need to yell and scream. The kids have a lot of pressure on them as it is. Academics are so tough, so hopefully coming to basketball practice can relieve some of that stress.”