BREAKING NEWS: Wells to stay at Alabama By Cecil Hurt Sports Editor June 23, 2006 TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama baseball coach Jim Wells said Friday morning that he would remain at UA and was removing his name from consideration for the vacant coaching job at LSU. “We are staying here,” Wells told The Tuscaloosa News during an interview in his office Friday morning. “That has been my main interest all along. “I did want to meet with [UA athletic director] Coach [Mal] Moore and [UA president] Dr. [Robert] Witt to discuss the future of our program in all areas, including academics, scholarships and facilities. We met last week, and I felt Dr. Witt and Coach Moore were very helpful, and I look forward to working with them in the future.” “[LSU athletic director] Coach [Skip] Bertman had asked to meet with me personally. I felt I should do that, because he is an old friend, and Coach Moore approved that. We met in Omaha and we talked. I don’t want to share the particulars of our conversation, because he is an old friend. But I wish them well in their search.” Wells, 51, has been considered a leading candidate for the open coaching position at LSU after Ray “Smoke” Laval resigned following the SEC Tournament. In the weeks following the tournament, Wells’ friendship with Bertman — LSU’s athletic director and longtime baseball coach — led in part to him being considered for the Tigers’ post. Wells, who earns approximately $210,000 annually, had met with Witt and Moore during the NCAA Super Regionals last week in Tuscaloosa, and sat down again with Moore on June 14 to talk about the state of the Crimson Tide baseball program. “Coach Wells and I had a very detailed and productive meeting Wednesday morning concerning all aspects of the baseball program,” Moore said in a release to the media that day. “Having the most competitive program on an annual basis is a top priority for Coach Wells and for me as well. We are striving to provide all of our sports programs with the necessary tools to ensure their ability to constantly compete for championships. “Coach Wells has proven to be a championship coach and I was pleased with the positive way our meeting ended.” Among the issues that were on the table during that discussion was possible renovation of Sewell-Thomas Stadium, including a new scoreboard, improved clubhouse facilities and luxury boxes. Wells became UA’s winningest coach earlier this season en route to a 44-20 finish that included a share of the SEC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals. Wells’ career record at UA is 522-246, and includes three College World Series appearances (1996, 1997 and 1999). Wells was a graduate assistant under Bertman, who built LSU into a national power, from 1987-89. He was considered a candidate for the Tigers’ job when Bertman was promoted to athletic director, but the school instead went with Laval. Wells is a Louisiana native, born in Bossier City and a graduate of Northwestern State in Natchitoches. After his graduate assistant stint at LSU, Wells was head coach at Northwestern State for five seasons before coming to Alabama in 1995.