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Wells retires as Alabama head baseball coach

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama head baseball coach Jim Wells, who took the Crimson Tide to the College World Series three times and won more games than any other at the school, announced his retirement Thursday.

The 52-year-old Wells said in a statement released by the university that he decided to retire after discussions with Athletic Director Mal Moore.

‘‘There comes a time in everyone’s career when they have to make decisions on what is best for all concerned. This was a decision that was not easy for me, because my family and I have the deepest love and respect for the University of Alabama,’’ Wells said.

Alabama went 31-26 (15-15 in the SEC) this spring, missing out on the NCAA Tournament a season after winning the SEC title and advancing to an NCAA Super Regional.

Wells is the winningest baseball coach in Alabama history with a 553-272 record over 13 seasons. His teams made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and three trips to the College World Series. Alabama finished second in the 1997 College World Series, losing to SEC rival LSU in the title game.

Wells was two-time SEC Coach of the Year and his teams won six SEC Tournament titles.

A native of Bossier City, La., Wells was 192-89 in five seasons at Northwestern State before coming to Alabama.

Moore praised Wells for his 13 seasons as Alabama’s baseball coach.

‘‘I was saddened to hear of his wish to retire, but I completely understand and respect his reason for making this decision. After having several conversations with Jim over the last few days, it became evident to me that he feels strongly about this decision,’’ Moore said.

Wells set a new school record for most wins by a coach during the 2006 season, when he won his 488th, beaking the mark set by Barry Shollenberger.

Wells praised the players he has coached at Alabama.

‘‘Of course, the one thing I will miss will be the players. We have had some outstanding competitors over the years, and I’m proud that so many have gone on to be successful when they left Alabama,’’ Wells said.

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