With the NCAA celebrating Division III Week April 5-11, it’s a good time to learn more about the newest head coach in Spalding University Athletics – Logan Wells, who was named coach of the Golden Eagles’ men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams on March 1. Wells is a Scottsburg, Indiana, native who comes to Spalding after spending the two years as the head cross country and assistant track field coach at Bluffton (Ohio) University. He also previously coached at Otterbein University and his alma mater, Hanover College, where he was an accomplished distance runner. Spalding has started its spring track season and last month had the fourth- and 12-place finishers in the men’s SLIAC cross country championships.
Tell us more about how you got into coaching.
I graduated from Hanover in 2015. I went to Columbus, Ohio, and was running with the Columbus Running Company Elite Team while also working as an assistant at Otterbein. I kind of got my feet wet in the coaching realm there. I really enjoyed it. I went to grad school at Ohio University. I was planning to do PhD studies in English, which is what I have my master’s in, but my dad had an opening for an intern assistant, so I went back to Hanover and thought I would do that for a year. The opportunity to go back and coach with my dad (Brady Well, the Hanover head cross country coach) was fantastic, and I absolutely fell in love with it. About that time, the job at Bluffton opened up, and I applied for it and was lucky enough to get it. I was there from January 2019 until I came to Spalding. Once I saw the Spalding job had opened, it was a chance for me to come back closer to home and be a head track coach for the first time, as well as cross country coach. I jumped on that opportunity, and here I am.
Were you always a distance runner?
Yeah, my dad was a really successful distance runner at his time (as an athlete) at Hanover, as well as post-collegiately. He was a very good marathoner. He got me started in the sport. I ran cross country in high school and didn’t run track until my junior year. I fell in love with that as well. I’ve always been a distance runner. The last few years, I’ve been able to work with sprinters, with jumpers, throwers, and I know enough to be dangerous in those events. That is one reason I was excited to take this position was to challenge myself to grow as a coach and coach all the events.
What else about the Spalding job was appealing to you?
The opportunity to be a head track coach as well as a head cross country coach. I’m somebody who is always trying to challenge myself and grow as a coach and an individual, and I felt like this was the logical next step in my career. My hope is to hire a coaching staff who can complement my experience in the distance events.
What would you say is your coaching philosophy?
One of the beautiful things about the Division III model – and I was a Division III student-athlete and why I wanted to stay in Division III coaching – is that we are coaching student-athletes, not just athletes. At the end of the day, our athletes are here to get an education, and when you come to a place like Spalding, you’re going to be a student-athlete, and “student” comes first. We want to make sure you’re succeeding in the classroom before we step foot on the course or the track. The other thing is, I believe the sports of cross country and track and field, more than a lot of other sports, teach you a lot about yourself as a person, not just as an athlete. Obviously, I want to see my athletes improve, I want to set school records, and I want send people to nationals, those type of things. But the reason I do this job is because I like to get to know my athletes on an individual level. To me, it’s not just about the time they run or the place they get. I want to know, what are their goals here at Spalding? What are their goals outside of Spalding? How can I help them achieve those? I always think that if my athletes can walk out of here a more well-rounded individual, a more worldly person who has a better understanding of themselves and how they fit into the world around them, I don’t care if they run one second faster or throw one centimeter farther, I’ll feel like I did my job. That is always what I have in the back of my mind philosophy-wise: How am I challenging my athletes in a positive way not just as athletes but as people? If we do those things, we are going to see success on the athletic side as well.
Tell about the success you had in your two years at Bluffton?
When I walked into the team, we were small (as a roster), but we had some talented individuals. It was nice to be able to coach a couple conference champions and school record-holders those first couple years. It was also a challenge to build the program up because we were a small program. We had six men and six women when I started, and 10 and 10 when I left. But we had some talented individuals. I think we set eight school records on the distance side during my time there and had a couple conference champions. A lot of that credit goes to the athletes and buying into what we were trying to do. At Bluffton, I was also really proud that the teams were Academic All-American when I was there. … I am looking forward to doing the same thing here: Build a roster that needs some more athletes and start to see the same success here. I’m excited to work with the athletes we have. We have some young talent. I think we have the building blocks in place that if we can get a good recruiting class the next couple years to bring this program to the forefront.
What other thoughts do you have on the outlook for track and field and cross country at Spalding?
One of the biggest things that brought me here to Spalding was the potential moving forward with this school and this program. Now is a great time to get on board at Spalding. I think the university and the track and cross country programs are really going to see some big growth over the next years. I think we have the ability to be a regionally relevant program and a nationally relevant program. The athletes who are here now and the athletes who are going to come in the next few years are going to have the opportunity of helping build that. I’m just really excited for what the future holds.
Prospective student-athletes interested in learning more about the Spalding track and field and cross country programs may contact Coach Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org