Michael Wells, a familiar face around Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for decades, will enter his second season as an assistant coach with the CMS men's basketball program in 2023-24.
In his first season at CMS, the Stags went 21-5, were ranked in the Top 25 for most of the season and had one of their best offensive seasons ever, ranking No. 2 in NCAA Division III in field goal percentage.
Wells previously worked at Occidental, where he began as the sports information director and became the associate athletic director in 2015, before assuming a role as the associate head coach of the men's basketball program. During his coaching tenure, he helped the Tigers to back-to-back SCIAC Tournament appearances, including an appearance in the championship game in 2019.
His primary responsibilities at Occidental were offensive fundamentals and as the defensive coach, helping the Tigers rank in the top 10 in the nation in points allowed, opponent field goal percentage, and three-point field goal defense in 2017-18, and in the top 25 in field goal percentage defense and points per game in 2018-19. He has also been a part of two different coaching staffs with point guards who have led the nation in assist to turnover ratio, Ryan Kaneshiro of Occidental in 2018-19, and Brian Kenyon of CMS in 2022-23.
When the SCIAC did not play in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, Wells was the head high school coach at the Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, leading the Wildcats to their first winning season in a decade and their first playoff win in 15 years.
In the offseason, Wells coaches club basketball with BTI. In 2023, his 17U team made the Elite Eight of the New Balance NXTPRO 16 National Circuit.
Wells is the son of Jodie Burton and David Wells, who were both longtime basketball coaches for CMS. Burton is now the women's golf coach, leading the Athenas to a national title in 2018 and to top-10 finishes in each of their last four NCAA Tournaments, and is entering her 45th year as part of the athletic department after first taking over the women's basketball program in 1979-80.
Wells graduated from Dominican University of California with a degree in communications in 2011 and added a masters in organizational leadership from Woodbury University in 2014. He served as a team captain with the men's basketball team at Dominican and helped lead the Penguins to a CalPac Championship in 2008.
Wells is married to Nika Wells who works at Claremont McKenna College in the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement.