Linda Wells Named Softball Coach Of Greek Olympic Team
Aug. 2, 2002
SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN - Arizona State head softball coach Linda Wells was named Head Coach of the Greek national team at a press conference announced Friday in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where the ISF Women's World Championship is currently being played. She will lead the country's national team to the 2004 Summer Olympics, to be held in Athens.
In making today's announcement, Hellenic Amateur Softball Federation President Mr. Dimitrios Modes said, 'I would like to express our satisfaction in finalizing our talks with Ms. Linda Wells. We are all aware of her background and credentials, and her involvement with the sport for so many years makes her the right person for us.'
Wells, a native of Pacific, Missouri and a 1972 graduate of Southeast Missouri State, has been coaching - and will continue in that position - at Arizona State University for 13 years. She has amassed 819 total career Division I victories - 468 of those at ASU - and most recently guided her 2002 team to a third place finish at the Women's College World Series. Her 819 Division I victories place her eighth on the Winningest Active NCAA D-I Coaches list, and 11th among All-Time NCAA D-I Coaches. She already has international coaching experience, having assisted the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 1985 South Pacific Classic in Australia as well as that which won the 1987 Pan American Games.
'I am deeply honored to be named the Head Olympic Coach for the Greek softball team for the 2004 Games in Athens,' Wells said. 'I am grateful to the Hellenic Amateur Softball Federation for this opportunity, and I look forward to working closely with the Greek softball and general communities to develop, identify, and train this team for this historical competition.'
Wells, who also coached collegiately for more than ten years throughout the mid-70s to late 80s at Minnesota, is a past president of the National Softball Coaches Association (NSCA) and is a featured speaker at numerous camps and clinics. She is a member of the NSCA Hall of Fame, the University of Minnesota Hall of Fame in volleyball and softball, and was recently inducted into the State of Minnesota Hall of Fame.
Mr. Modes added, 'The fact that Ms. Wells was also highly recommended to us by the ISF makes us feel confident that our selection is the best one. We are very happy to work with Ms. Wells and we believe that her knowledge, in combination with hard work, in the future will bring great results. We are very honored by the fact that Ms. Wells made the decision to develop and work with the Hellenic Olympic Team in order to prepare the players for the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 - a great challenge for all of us indeed. We would like to thank Ms. Wells and the ISF for their ongoing support.'
By virtue of their hosting the Olympic Games, Greece had - an exercised - the option to take one of the eight spots on the roster of softball teams that will compete in 2004. Since softball hadn't been played in that country prior to 1999, Greece was aided by the ISF in helping prepare to build toward a competitive team for the 2004 Summer Games. The ISF helped develop and train a national team of exclusively Greek players to compete in the 2001 European B Championship in an effort to ready them for the next stage of the national team development program. That next step involves selecting the best players from a database of over 100 softball players in North America with Greek heritage that the ISF has been building over the last year and a half. The top players from that group will be identified through tryouts, and then be combined with players selected from Greek-only tryouts, held in Athens in late September. These two groups will blend to become the Greek national team and eventually pared down to result in the 2004 Greek Olympic team.
ISF President Don Porter said, 'This is an important program for Greece as well as for us. We are always striving to ensure that our events provide the highest level of competition to fans and media. The eyes of the world will be on Greece and, in this case, their national team in softball, so we want to make every opportunity available to them that exists for the countries who have been playing softball for years and years. I'm sure that Mr. Modes and Coach Wells will be prepared to field a team that is right in there competing with the rest of them.'
In late August, the ISF will host, and Linda Wells will conduct, tryouts for no more than 30 North American players invited to Plant City Stadium at the ISF's world headquarters in Florida (USA).
The International Softball Federation, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2002, is the governing body of softball internationally as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). The ISF organizes and conducts world championship competition in women's and men's fast pitch, junior women's and men's fast pitch, women's, men's, and coed slow pitch, and women's and men's modified pitch. Softball (women's fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 125 affiliated countries in the ISF and over 40 million participants in the sport worldwide.