University of Pikeville men’s basketball coach Kelly Wells has been named Athletic Director. UPIKE President Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., announced Wells will assume his position July 1 as the university heads into its 2018-19 season. Wells will succeed Robert Staggs, who is taking on a role in external relations in addition to coaching softball for a 15th season.
“The university expresses our deepest gratitude to Robert Staggs for his years of service to the athletic department as athletic director and softball coach,” said Webb. “We are pleased by his decision to continue coaching softball as he takes on several new responsibilities in external relations. We are equally pleased that Kelly Wells, who has more basketball wins than any coach in UPIKE history, has accepted this new role as athletic director. Kelly’s skills and dispositions fit his new role well and we look forward to great days ahead.”
Provost Lori Werth, Ph.D., said, “Kelly has demonstrated an incredible commitment to our students and understands the importance of academics in the lives of these students.”
Wells is entering his 13th year at UPIKE, becoming the all-time wins leader in men’s basketball at 287-102. He won the NAIA National Championship in 2011, has captured four MSC titles and coached 23 All-Americans.
“I am honored to serve the University of Pikeville family, and I want to thank President Webb and Provost Werth for entrusting me as the steward of the athletic department and to continue as Head Men’s Basketball Coach,” said Wells.
UPIKE’s athletic department offers 22 varsity sports, of which 20 compete in the Mid-South Conference, widely regarded as one of the top leagues in the NAIA. UPIKE has also stayed at the forefront of new offerings, including being the second school nationwide to offer esports scholarships.
Six national championships have been claimed by the Bears, including five by women’s bowling and one by Wells’ men’s basketball team in 2011.
“The passion and pride of Bear Nation continues to rise,” said Wells. “I will work with our great coaches and staff to have an impact on the lives of our student-athletes and build upon our past successes to achieve new heights. My family and I look forward to continuing to serve as ambassadors for this great institution and community.”