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Bubba Wells to return to Govs basketball as assistant coach

The leading scorer in APSU mens basketball history is coming back to campus.

Charles Bubba Wells, the 1997 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and two-time OVC Male Athlete of the Year who gained national attention for his miraculous return from a leg stress fracture, will return to the Governors basketball program as a full-time coaching assistant to Dave Loos. He replaces Tony Collins, who left in the spring to become head coach at his alma mater, Virginia State.
The leading scorer in APSU men's basketball history is coming back to campus.

Charles “Bubba” Wells, the 1997 Ohio Valley Conference “Player of the Year” and two-time OVC “Male Athlete of the Year” who gained national attention for his miraculous return from a leg stress fracture, will return to the Governors basketball program as a full-time coaching assistant to Dave Loos. He replaces Tony Collins, who left in the spring to become head coach at his alma mater, Virginia State.

“This is the next step for me,” Wells said. “Playing is tough to give up, but I am ready to take that step, and this is the place where I wanted to start.

“When I first signed my (scholarship) papers coming out of high school, I said then this was the place I wanted to be and I am back again—I am starting my coaching career at the place I want to be.”

Considered by many the most popular player in OVC history, Wells finished his career with 2,267 pointsthe first APSU player to reach 2,000 pointsranking him third all-time in the OVC. He was a three-time first-team All-OVC choice after being named the league's “Freshman of the Year” in 1993-94. Wells was the 1997 OVC “Player of the Year” and the 1996 and 1997 OVC “Male Athlete of the Year.” He also was two-time Tennessee Sportswriters College Basketball “Player of the Year.”

Wells' jersey (13) was retired Jan. 22, 1998, and he was inducted into the APSU Athletics Hall of Fame, Feb. 8, 2003.

As a sophomore, Wells averaged 19.3 ppg and followed that up with a 26.3 ppg (third in nation) in 1995-96, earning the OVC Tourney MVP in leading the Govs to a championship and NCAA tournament appearance. Wells still owns several OVC tournament records.

But it was his senior year that drew nationwide attention. He missed the season's first 12 games with a stress fracture in his left tibia, requiring surgery to place a tibial nail in the lower leg. He had undergone similar surgery following the 1994-95 season, needing five months to rehabilitate.

However, this time the rehab process took less than five weeks and in his debut game, he scored 39 points in 28 minutes. As a result, the performance and the surgery were featured in “USA Today.” He went on to become the nation's unofficial scoring leader (he did not have enough games played to qualify for the official title), averaging 31.7 ppg, scoring 30 or more points 11 times including three 40-point games.

His performance also caught the attention of The Los Angeles Times in a front-page story about “The Man of Steel” and segments on both CBS NCAA College Basketball “At the Half” and a seven-minute feature, the “Real Rod Man,” on NBC's “Today” show.

For his career, Wells averaged 21.6 ppg, 7.1 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the floor.

He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 1997 draft and played one season before being traded to the Phoenix Suns and then to the Chicago Bulls. A torn achilles tendon and other leg/groin injuries slowed his professional career, although he played in the Philippines and the Euro League in Greece for two seasons. He then played for the Harlem Globetrotters the last two years.

Now Wells is going to use his playing experience at the coaching level. He will begin his new position July 1, hitting the road for the summer recruiting process.
—Brad Kirtley