Wells leaves Loudon for opening at Lenoir City Homecoming for former assistant

By JESSE SMITHEY, knoxnews.com
May 18, 2007

In two seasons, Shane Wells turned the Loudon High School boys' basketball team from 5-24 into this year's District 4-AA champions.

So, Lenoir City principal Steve Millsaps wasn't sure if Wells would want to fill the boys' coaching vacancy he had open. Wells had a strong nucleus returning for the 2007-08 season, and the Redskins' prospectus of making another deep playoff run looked imminent.

But last week, Wells took the job at Lenoir City, returning to the school where he graduated and was once an assistant coach.

"I think it boiled down to him returning home and competing against some of these triple-A teams," said Millsaps. "The challenge that lies ahead is one of the things that was appealing to him."

Lenoir City hasn't fared well the last two years since making the jump to a Class AAA basketball program. The Panthers went 9-19 this past season, winning just four District 4-AAA games.

"We know and he knows that we have a lot of good players returning," said Millsaps. "We're in a district, though, that has the defending state champion (Maryville). We're looking forward to improving and competing."

Millsaps has the utmost confidence in his new coach's abilities.

"He's a hard working young man," said Millsaps. "He does a really good job. He takes his teaching very seriously. He works really hard to learn the game of basketball. He talks to a lot of people. He's open to ideas.

"He's eager to learn and eager to improve himself, even. He's a good Christian young man, too. I think he's a good role model for our young people."