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More Than A Game

The new head coach of the boy’s basketball team at Eagle High School endeavors to teach his players more than just a sport

By Jacob Rivers

Photography by Pete Grady 

Coach Wells is an Idaho native who grew up in Castleford and is a 2002 graduate from Buhl High School. He got his start in coaching by helping his brother coach at Troy High School. During his time up in Troy, he assisted the Trojans to three state tournament trophies. But he brings with him more than just these trophies; he also brings a great work ethic and outstanding values, which he credits to his upbringing. His mother is a teacher at Castleford Senior High School and his father installs industrial fences. It would seem that teaching and coaching is starting to be a successful tradition in the Wells family, and he is quite proud of his blue-collar upbringing and his ability to work hard.

“We’re just trying to put our kids in a situation where they’re proud of themselves, regardless of what the scoreboard says at the end of the night.”

This same work ethic is precisely what he endeavors to teach each and every one of his players this year. When asked what he expects of his players he explained to me that, of course he would love to go deep in the playoffs and for his players to have that wonderful experience, but that would just be the icing on the cake. Rather, he explained with clear passion in his eyes, “My number one priority is my players. I only have four months to teach them the game of basketball and the game of life.”

Coach Wells doesn’t simply want to teach his players the game of basketball; he wants to teach them that and so much more. His goal is to use basketball as a tool to teach them life skills that will help them throughout their lives. Whether they continue their basketball careers or forge out into the business world, he wants each and every one of his players to be prepared for what life may bring them after high school. His goal is that, after his four months of coaching basketball is over, each of his players will have learned to work hard as a team and as individuals. As he puts it, “We’re just trying to put our kids in a situation where they’re proud of themselves, regardless of what the scoreboard says at the end of the night.”

He wants them each to have a sense of accomplishment and of earning something that they have worked hard for – whether it be winning a game or a trophy. Coach Wells wants all of his players to learn first hand that hard work pays off and they can overcome any kind of adversity that life may throw their way if they put their minds to it. He also explained to me that the game of basketball teaches the players not only to be honest with each other, but also with themselves – which can be a hard lesson to learn. It teaches the players respect and how to be good team players as well, which will be better prepare them for their approaching transition into the real world.

Though his goal is to teach his players much more than basketball, Coach Wells also truly loves the game. He explained to me that, “There is nothing I would rather do or that I am more passionate about than the game of basketball.” Coach Wells is generally a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, but as soon as he steps foot on the court he instantly becomes a passionate, intense person. He only has one speed on the court – high. But win or lose, Coach Wells wakes up every morning looking forward to the opportunity to teach, coach and share his passion with the younger generation. He is very grateful to work for, and with, the great staff at Eagle High School. He is also very excited to be a part of the Eagle community and he wants “Nothing more to put a team on the court that, win or lose, the whole Eagle community can be proud of.”