Coaches Corner: Chris Wells

Coaches Corner-Chris Wells: Hilton Head skipper Chris Wells just completed his eighth season at the helm of the Seahawk program…and what a year it turned out to be. During Hilton Head’s first year in 3A, Wells guided his crew to the State Championship Series before running into AC Flora. Before the baseball season began, Wells did a Q & A with us about the past present and future. He also has high goals for the perfect guest list at the dinner table!


DP-How many years have you been in coaching?

CW-2007 will be my eleventh year as a baseball coach. I spent two years as an assistant coach and am beginning my 9th year as the Varsity Baseball Coach at Hilton Head High School.


DP-What is the most rewarding thing about being a baseball coach?

CW-There are so many things that are rewarding about being a coach.  Probably the most rewarding thing is seeing 14 year old boys mature into men. As they learn concepts like team work, discipline, work ethic, and sportsmanship over their 4+ years in high school is special.  Playing a role in that development is gratifying.

DP-What does the term coach mean to you?

CW-“Coach” is synonymous with things like teacher, facilitator, leader, and motivator. But in order to be effective at all of those, I believe first and foremost one has to be a good communicator. Letting players know where they stand and what your expectations are is most important. I have an open-door policy with my players.  They know they will get the truth with me. I don’t tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear…….and there can be a big difference.


DP-What is something you wish everyone knew about your profession?

CW-Coaches get kicked in the butt ten times more often than they get patted on the back. Being a high school coach is a sacrifice that those of us in this fraternity choose to make.  We don’t do it for the peanuts they call stipends. We do it for the love of the game and the pats on the back.


DP-What is your definition of a student-athlete?

CW-A student-athlete is a competitor. One who does what it takes to be successful in the classroom and on the field.


DP-We always hear how players have superstitions, I know coaches do too. Do you have anything interesting?

CW-I am superstitious, but nothing too outlandish. When we win, I try and repeat my routine the next time out, even down to wearing the same underwear and socks……….of course I wash them first.

DP-What is your most memorable experience as a baseball coach?

CW-Right now my most memorable moments seem to be mistakes I have made as a coach. Getting tossed from some games early on in my career still sticks out for me. Nowadays I don’t let bad umpiring effect me as much.


DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball coach and why?

CW-Many people have made big impressions on me as a coach. Dave Delgado, Jimmy Frost, Greg Elliott, Dan Driessen, Jack Radcliffe, Burt Bazzle (to name a few) have all affected me as a coach in some way or another.  However, my father, John Wells, has affected me the most as a man and therefore as a baseball coach.  My father instilled in me a drive, a work ethic, a desire to do my best. I owe a ton to my father and he impacts me on a daily basis.

DP-Who are the best three players you have ever coached against?

CW-Not sure who the third would be, but Chris Fidrych (Beaufort HS, Clemson) & Justin Smoak (Stratford, USC) both stand out above everyone else.


DP-Who do you think are the top three players in your area right now?

CW-Brian Harrison (Senior, Hilton Head), Greg Harrison (Sophomore, Hilton Head), Blake Gruel (Sophomore, Beaufort)


DP-What does it mean to be a good teammate and is that important?

CW-Being a good teammate is very important. There isn’t a better compliment that can be made from one teammate to another then being called a good teammate. TRUST is everything.


DP-What do you see as the biggest difference in high-school aged players today versus ten years ago?

CW-It is much more competitive now than it has ever been. Year-round play; AAU, Fall Ball, Showcases and Camps have changed the game of high school baseball. 


DP-We often hear about the politics that surround high school baseball. What is your philosophy on this subject and on dealing with the parents of your players.

CW-On the first day of tryouts, we ask the players their names, grades, and positions that they want to tryout for.  We don’t ask them their parents’ names or occupations. At our pre-season parent meeting, we thank the parents for their support and communicate to them how they can assist the program off the field. We, as coaches, will take care of all on-the-field decisions. We don’t expect them to agree with all of the decisions, but to support them. So far, so good.


DP-What high school rule(s) would you change?

CW-I would change the SCHSL rules on academic eligibility. A greater emphasis needs to be put on academics. Student-athletes should have to carry a 2.0 to be eligible for athletics. Currently a student with all D’s is eligible to play and I think that is too low.


DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why?

CW-People like my father, my aunt and some of my close friends have all made huge impressions in my life. But, the person who probably made the greatest lasting impression was my mother. Although she died at 32 (when I was only 13), she really impacted who I am more than any other person. My mother was strong, passionate, caring, faithful, loving, and a great mother. 


DP-What MLB feat in history do you wish you’d been inside the stadium to witness and why?

CW-I have always wanted to be at a MLB game to see a no-hitter.  Seeing a pitcher deal with the mounting pressure would be fun to watch.


DP-Who is your favorite athlete (non-baseball)?

CW-I grew up a huge Michael Jordan fan. I was born in NC and have always been a Tarheel basketball fan and just loved watching him play back when it was fun to watch the NBA.


DP-Who is your favorite MLB pitcher and position player to watch and why?

CW-My favorite pitcher is probably Greg Maddux because he gets more out of less than any pitcher in the history of the game. In his prime he was a magician on the mound. My favorite player to watch today is Derek Jeter. He’s a winner and just plays the game right. 


DP-Who is your favorite MLB team?

CW-The Atlanta Braves. I grew up watching them on TBS in the days of Dale Murphy & Bob Horner and when Glavine, Smoltz, Justice, Gant and the rest started winning in the 90’s was as exciting as it could get for me.


DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball?

CW-Growing up it was football and basketball, but now, living in Hilton Head lets me play golf at some pretty nice golf courses.


DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball? 

CW-Gamecock Football at Williams-Brice Stadium!!!


DP-What are some of your hobbies? 

CW-Playing golf, traveling, cooking, going to the beach


DP-What is something people don’t know about you? 

CW-I was a military brat. My father was a SGM in the US Army and I ended up moving around a lot as a child. I went to kindergarten in Germany and high school in Honolulu and lived many places in between.


DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why? 

CW-I am not sure who I want to eat dinner with from the past, but as a never-been-married bachelor, I would love to eat dinner with Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, & Jessica Alba. Now that sounds like a good time!


DP-Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

CW-I have no idea. Ten years ago, I never thought I would be here, so I don’t even want to predict where I will be. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teaching high school and coaching baseball is in my blood, but I am not sure if I can afford to stay in this profession for my entire adult life. One of these days, I may just get an offer I can’t refuse.


DP-Your thoughts on what Diamond Prospects can do for kids in South Carolina? 

CW-Diamond Prospects is a great tool for players in SC. It keeps them informed of on-goings around the state (i.e. camps, showcases, scores, signings, rankings, polls, etc.). 


DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice. 

CW-Do your best regardless if anyone is watching or not.


DP-Thank you, Coach. Best of luck to you and your kids in 2008!