By Corey Tucker – A&E Editor
After 38 years of employment with the Grand Rapids Community College Athletic Department, Athletic Director, Charlie Wells, will retire.
Throughout his career at GRCC, Wells made his way through numerous roles on the way to the top athletic position at the college. Wells has held positions including intramural director, assistant wrestling Coach, and head wrestling coach before becoming the AD in 2011. As a student at Grand Rapids Junior College, Wells won a wrestling national championship in 1973.
As for the reason of his departure, Wells feels the physical stress of a career in college athletics is catching up to him.
“I’ve worked in a lot of areas that are physically strenuous, from the wrestling coach aspect to the criminal justice fitness area, and over time, body parts wear out,” Wells said. “And now, I feel it’s time to get those body parts worked on and healed.”
In his four years as AD, Wells helped GRCC win two consecutive Charlie Chanter awards in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. The Charlie Chanter award is received by the best overall athletic program in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA). Wells was also at the helm when GRCC won its first girls volleyball national title in 2012.
Wells said the biggest highlight of his career came from the opportunity to influence.
“The high point is knowing that you’ve affected a person’s life,” Wells explained. “And to teach, is to have a positive influence on someone’s life.”
GRCC President Steven Ender attested to the success of Wells’ career.
“From a standout student-athlete to a dedicated employee, Charlie’s story is remarkable,” Ender said.“He has been a coach, friend and mentor to many during his time at the college, and for that he should be commended.”
Ender also touched on Wells’ essence and conviction.
“He embodies the GRCC spirit of finding opportunity in what you do and pursuing it with tenacity to achieve your goals,” Ender said. “It has been my pleasure to call Charlie a colleague and friend.”
Wells will conclude his career at GRCC on June 30. Taking over the Athletic Director position will be Orletta Caldwell who will be bringing her business experience to the Athletic Department.
“I’m filling some rather large shoes,” Caldwell said. “However, I look forward to the opportunity and challenge to serve in this role.”