Rex Wells Retires
Rex Wells has steadfastly worn shorts for even some of the coldest football games that Asheville High has ever played.
That's a fact.
So it's ironic that the veteran athletic director and coach who never minded what a thermometer read has gone with his instinct.
Wells has been with the Cougars since 1992 and announced his retirement Wednesday.
"Somebody once told me that you will know when the time is right," Wells said.
"Well, the time is right."
Wells, 59, said he will finish out this school year and then relinquish his duties to someone new after Aug. 1.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Wells said.
"I've been fortunate to work with so many tremendous people and spend 23 great years here. I want to make sure the (incoming) athletic director is oriented for the fall. Leaving things in good shape is important. To me, it's all about the kids. I've enjoyed being a part of their lives. If it took working 80 to 90 hours a week to grow and see them get better, then that's meant the most to me and what I'm going to miss."
Wells retired as Asheville's wrestling coach in 2004 with a career 326 wins in dual team matches. He coached Brevard to an all-classifications NCHSAA tournament win in 1985.
Football coach Danny Wilkins called Wells' retirement "a tremendous loss for us here at AHS."
"Rex has done so much. Everyone has their critics, but if people knew all the things he has done for athletes and coaches at this school, they would be floored," Wilkins said.
"He does so many of the extra things that don't ever get the headlines and when no one is paying attention. This is going to leave a big hole here at Asheville High."
Wilkins replaced former state championship coach Lou Fogle in 2000 and Wells inherited Fogles's duties as athletic director.
Wells was the defensive coordinator for Asheville's 15-0 NCHSAA 3-A championship team in 2005. He had been a co-coordinator with fellow assistant David Burdette for at least the last four years before only coaching linebackers last fall.
The Cougars (12-2) won their school-record 10th consecutive conference championship with a 30-14 win at Erwin on Nov. 7.
Wells graduated from Enka in 1973 and later Western Carolina University. He was inducted into that Buncombe County high school's athletic hall of fame in 2007.
Wells has been the state director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in recent years and was inducted himself in 2009 for his "lifetime service to wrestling."