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Not your average Athletic Director


By Max De Leeuw

Many people know Charlie Wells as the Athletic Director for Grand Rapids Community College, but they may not realize quite what that job entails or what Wells is involved in when he leaves campus.

Before taking on the role of Athletic Director, Wells was in charge of the fitness aspect of the GRCC Police Academy. He ran the exhausting physical training and defense tactics portions of the academy for 26 years before stepping down. Wells said that the intense training paid off and that the academy produced many well prepared graduates.


Wells also coached GRCC’s wrestling team for 22 years, an organization that produced many All-Americans.

His AD position involves more than just setting up sports schedules, which is no easy feat in and of itself. Wells begins working around 7:45 a.m., when he kicks off the day by checking his emails.

After that, he shifts roles from administrator to counselor, meeting with students to discuss their classes and any problems they might be facing. He makes sure they are on track with where they need to be.

“To see them grow is the biggest and most rewarding part,” Wells said about his students. “When they walk out of here, are they better than when they came in?”

Besides his job as the Athletic Director, Wells teaches six classes. Sticking to his knowledge of personal fitness, he teaches personal defense and aerobic classes.

In one personal defense class, he begins each class with stretching and a workout. Then he covers the defense maneuvers for the day. After capping off the day with a small workout, he often encourages his students as they walk out of class.

“Let’s have a good day,” he regularly says. “Do something good for yourself and do something good for somebody else.”

Wells definitely stays busy, juggling teaching, coaching, counseling, and administrating. Wells said that it’s the students who motivate him.

“Every day I look forward to meeting with them and their challenges.”

Because of his busy schedule, you may not be able to find him when you’re out and about on campus. That’s OK. When the weather warms up, you can go to the sand dunes and find him there.

Wells will be the one driving the Chevrolet Corvair that he used to take racing. Wells drove souped up Corvairs for about eight years, doing time trials in the SCCA, the Sports Car Club of America.

Despite the intense pastime, Wells doesn’t consider himself an adrenaline junky.

“I’m just a normal guy who has a hobby outside of work,” said Wells, “That’s my release when I go away from work.”

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