Wells says earlier decision to retire 'just didn't feel right'

Updated: June 27, 2007, 5:42 PM ET
Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jim Wells is returning to the job as Alabama's baseball coach, saying Wednesday that his earlier decision to retire "just didn't feel right."

Wells was welcomed back by athletic director Mal Moore after a meeting Wednesday morning, six days after announcing he was stepping down after 13 seasons.

"We had a very long discussion this morning and it became obvious to me that Jim has had a change of heart regarding this situation," Moore said in a statement. "It also was obvious to me that Jim is totally committed to achieving excellence in every phase of the baseball program."

He noted that the 52-year-old Wells had "struggled greatly" before making his decision to retire.

Wells has a 553-272 record with the Crimson Tide and is the program's winningest coach. He has led Alabama to two Southeastern Conference championships, six league tournament titles and three trips to the College World Series.

Wells said he realized in recent days that he hadn't "lost my passion for the job" and wanted to come back.

"Over the course of the last few days, I knew I just didn't feel right about it," Wells said. "I came to realize that I had personally rushed myself into that decision, that I didn't allow myself the time needed to really consider everything I needed to."

The Tide failed to make the postseason this spring after going 31-26 and posting a .500 league record. That disappointing season came a year after Wells led Alabama to an SEC title and an NCAA super regional.

"A combination of things -- both personal matters and professional challenges -- had made me feel that this was a situation that had become difficult to manage recently," Wells said. "But I have worked out some things so that this is a very manageable situation, and I am more excited, energized and passionate about coaching the Alabama baseball team because I've been through this."

Wells apologized to fans, his players and Alabama officials, stressing that the initial decision to leave was "totally driven by me."

"I know this is what I want to be doing and this is where I want to be, and I am looking forward to getting back to work," he said. "We have tremendous challenges and opportunities ahead of us, and I am eager to take those on."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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