Jack Wells takes love of game to new heights
More than 50 years ago, Jack Wells made history at Greencastle-Antrim.
In the 1955-56 boys basketball season, Wells became the first-ever Blue Devil to score 1,000 points in his career, and that was way before the 3-point shot.
This season, Wells might've made history again. At 77 years old, Wells took a place on the Blue Devil bench as an assistant coach.
"(Head coach) Gary (Martin) has been asking me about it for a couple years, but I didn't think I wanted to get involved because I am pretty old," Wells said. "But finally, last summer, he talked me into it and I'm really glad he did. I'm already looking forward to next year."
Not only was Wells the first with that career milestone, he still has his name in the G-A record books. He holds the single-game scoring record; he scored a massive 55 points in a game in 1955.
"When I took over, I started seeing regular people that were coming to games," Martin said. "I've always wanted to have people from Greencastle be a part of the team, and who better than the guy who cares about the team as much as I do?"
Born and raised in Greencastle, Wells has left the area for only a short period of time. Directly following his graduation in 1956, Wells enlisted in the Navy and was on active duty for two years. Following his military duty, he played pro baseball in the Phillies' system for several years before returning to the area and playing in the Franklin County Adult League for two decades.
Wells then played senior softball for another 20 years. He was a member of Joe Corbi's out of Baltimore, which won the Senior World Series and was the No. 1 team in the nation. Wells was an active softball player until five years ago.
Despite his hectic, sports-heavy schedule, Wells has always found a place for his hometown team.
"Since I got out of high school, I've been going to the games," Wells said. "We started following the 2007 team very closely, like every game. Then when Gary took over (in 2010-11), he did such a good job with the group of guys in Greencastle, we just started following the team to almost every game. My wife always tells me she's a ball widow."
Larry Holbert, a lifelong friend and former teammate of Wells, said, "We had a group of about five of us that went to the games. Now we're down to two with Jack on the bench, but we all just like sports. We've always been sports-minded, and we'll go to all the games - basketball, baseball, soccer, boys games, girls games, we like them all."
And the players certainly don't seem to mind having him around.
"Jack is really fun to be around," Greencastle sophomore Camron Hileman said. "He's told us a lot about his past playing times, and he's always been there to encourage us."
Blue Devil junior Casey Hoover said, "It's quite an honor for him to watch us play. He's been around for awhile, and was the first person to score 1,000 points at our school. He can throw in his knowledge about basketball, so it was cool for him to be on the bench with us and watch us progress throughout the season."
Despite his age, Wells manages to stay quite active. He delivers car parts for Antrim Way Honda in the mornings before taking his talents to the basketball court in the afternoons. He said the Blue Devils help keep him young.
"I've always been a real sports nut," Wells said. "I grew up as a kid playing ball, and now I'm just so glad I got involved. I really enjoy it because of the kids.
"I've had a great year - this is the most fun I've had in a long time, and it keeps me out of my EasyChair."