New Assistant Coach for the Lancers
Evan Wells set to take on hitting and infield duties for LU Baseball Team
By: Chance Hagwood
After the departure of three-year assistant coach, Chad Oxendine, head coach Ryan Mau and the Longwood University baseball team add new assistant coach Evan Wells to their arsenal.
Evan Wells, 31, has been around baseball for more than 25 years of his life. A college baseball player at Gonzaga University and coaching stints at multiple collegiate institutions, his track record is full of baseball experience.
After graduating from Gonzaga in 2009, Wells got the chance to coach baseball at the collegiate level at Whitworth University of Spokane, Wash., where he even admits of the rough start at the beginning.
“Whitworth just kind of fell into place for me, I wasn’t very good at coaching at the beginning and I wish I could go back and do some things differently but that is just how it goes with coaching,” said Wells. “As I’ve done it more I think I’ve gotten better at it and I’ve learned to enjoy it more.”
Upon leaving Whitworth after two seasons, he had a stint with the University of Washington for one season, then a short month with Creighton University, ultimately landing at Dartmouth College for the bulk of his career which was five seasons at Dartmouth. Eventually, this February will be Wells first year with the Longwood Lancers, and he has just had a little over two weeks to bond with the players and get used to the system.
The overall standard that Wells holds is that he can grow with his players and help them gain continuous confidence with their swing and make heavy contact with the ball.
“I think it’s a constant process of getting better every day, me trying to feel the guys out, and know that mistakes will come but just try to keep playing hard,” said Wells.
Head coach of the Longwood baseball team, Ryan Mau, going into his fourth season as the head coach of the team, met Coach Wells during recruiting while Mau was with the Navy Academy, and continued to stay in touch. Mau says he believes in Wells philosophy about the sport of baseball and that he got the guy that he wanted.
“Traditionally we try to play for more doubles and home runs, this philosophy is more focused on our individual strengths and a more balanced attack in our line-ups, said Mau. “Also, defensively Coach Wells track record speaks for itself with the numbers his teams at Dartmouth was able to put up and we believe he could add that edge to our team.”
However, for Mau, it’s not just about Wells hitting and infield coaching skills that he was drawn to when picking Wells, it’s also his recruiting ability.
“National recruiting and covering the entire country is not easy, and his (Wells) recruiting skills and contact national that he has will also help our staff,” said Mau.
From a player’s perspective, Senior First Baseman, Justin Mitchell, cannot wait for the upcoming season to start and see what Wells coaching abilities will bring to the team.
“What I like about Coach Wells is his philosophy,” said Mitchell. “Right now, we’ve been looking at a lot of vision training and hitting the ball hard, I’m really interested to see what drills he has for us during the season and moving forward how it impacts our play on the field.”
For college athletes, it is a never-ending balance between school and the sport they play. Mitchell claims that Wells understands the everyday struggle of college athletes. That there can be stressful situations that can affect the athletes.
“It’s kind of hard to come by when you have someone that just lets you do your thing, for him (Wells) you’ve been playing baseball for 12 plus years, there shouldn’t be any stress, just work on stuff that you know is good and aspects that aren’t so good just work on getting them better,” said Mitchell.
“Focus on the things you can control, like the process of getting better as a team because for the most part, that will take care of the win and loss totals,” said Wells.
With Longwood University’s baseball team finishing under .500 last season after coming off a stellar 32-win season the season before, Wells, in his first year hopes that his new team can return to above .500 and ultimately make a run for a championship.