October 25th, 2013

Hyland's Heroes: Dean Wells

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Dean Wells
Dean Wells was a former Holy Cross standout / photo submitted by the Wells family

Growing up playing sports at St. Lawrence (now merged and known as Notre Dame Academy), Dean Wells may never have dreamed that one day he might be the football coordinator and a 4th grade coach for St. Mary Academy. In fact, Notre Dame and St. Mary could not be found on any map of his young imagination. However, one can guess that he thought going to Holy Cross High School, and maybe even the University of Kentucky, might be pretty “neat.”  And that’s exactly how it turned out for him.

But in between his youthful days playing CSAA sports and his business life today, Dean Wells lived the life a young football player might aspire to achieve. Playing football at Holy Cross led him to a stellar athletic and academic career at UK. This successful linebacker made the SEC All-Academic team for four years and was drafted in the 4th Round of the 1993 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Dean spent 9 seasons in the pros with stops in Seattle, Carolina and New England.

Today, Dean and his wife Lisa are the proud parents of Jack and Luke who are just beginning their experiences participating in CSAA sports. Football is now a wonderful volunteer opportunity for Dean, and the families at St. Mary. The CSAA and the entire city are blessed to have the Wells family contributing so generously in our community.

When and how did you get your start with the CSAA? Why so?

I started coaching three years ago for my son’s flag football team at Saint Mary Academy. I wanted to try and to have a positive influence on young kids. I was fortunate to participate in CSAA when I was young and I have so many great memories. I am hopeful my kids have a similar experience.

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved? 

I have always loved teaching kids so I knew as soon as I had my own children that I would want to be involved in coaching their youth teams. 

What sports did you coach and for how long? 

I coached high school football for two seasons and I have been coaching both of my boys since they began playing sports about four years ago. I have also conducted a free football camp for the past 15 years during the summer at Holy Cross High School.

What's the connection with your faith and giving your time to young student athletes?

My connection is that I want to have a positive impact on each child I coach. I want each child to gain confidence in who they are. I want them to learn what it means to be a part of a team. I also want them to begin to appreciate giving back to others. We do a fall service project each year so the kids can learn to appreciate and be thankful for what they have.

Who was the most influential person on your coaching career? Why?

Bob Bronger. He was one of my high school football coaches and he inspired me to be the best football player that I could be. I would like to have the same impact on kids today that Coach Bronger had on me. He was an amazing motivator and challenged me to be my best. 

What are your major themes/principles as a coach? 

I want kids to compete and do the best that they can. I want them to truly understand what it means to be a part of a team and to realize that the team is bigger than any one individual. I try to teach my kids about the type of attitude that they must have in order to do their best. I believe it is important to discuss the importance of academics, being respectful, unselfishness, hard work, sportsmanship, and many other important issues so they grow as young boys.

Kids look up to their coaches and we cannot always just assume they are being taught these things at home.

What does coaching bring to you, your family? 

Coaching definitely brings a feeling of reward. It is a great feeling to see kids grow both on and off of the field. For my family, it is a unique bond to coach my son and his friends. 

 What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of coaching? 

I think it’s just all of the little things that you experience on a daily basis. You never know what kids will say or do and that makes every day unique. My first year of coaching flag football, I asked one of our kids if he was excited to be at practice to which he responded, “No, I wish I was playing tennis right now!”


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