Patriot athletics announces cross-country coach

Northwest-Shoals Community College Patriots athletic director Taylor Franks announced this past week that the college has hired Mark Wells as coach for the men and women’s cross-country teams. 

“Coach Wells is a great fit for what we are trying to build in the Patriot athletics program,” said Franks. “We want to see the cross-country team based on the Phil Campbell campus, and Coach Wells is a fabric of the community. He lives there, works for Phil Campbell High School and attended the Phil Campbell campus at Northwest-Shoals.

“He knows our community. He works with youth and high school track and field athletes and knows how important it is for our area athletes to have an opportunity to compete collegiately without having to leave home.” 

Wells is a native of Phil Campbell and current varsity boys’ track and field coach and junior high boys’ basketball coach for Phil Campbell High. He also teaches seventh- and eighth-grade special education.

He is a 2005 alum of Phil Campbell High School. He then attended the Phil Campbell campus of Northwest-Shoals prior to graduating from the University of North Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He also earned a master’s degree  in special education from the University of West Alabama. 

Wells said he has a huge passion for running and for the northwest Alabama community.

“Northwest-Shoals has a special place in my heart from my time there as a student on the Phil Campbell campus,” Wells said. “I am very excited to be a part of bringing athletics back to the Phil Campbell campus. I want to recruit and help develop some very good runners from the local area – but more importantly mentor them into good students and good community members.” 

His love for running led to establishing a running club for Phil Campbell Elementary School students. “I started the running club a couple years ago to help encourage young students to stay active,” said Wells. “It started with a little over 30, and we are now well over 100. It is really exciting to see our kids start to develop the same passion for running that I have.” 

Patriots cross-country teams will join other Alabama Community College schools in competing under the umbrella of the Alabama Community College Conference. Northwest-Shoals cross country will begin competition in August. 

Each cross country team will have five scholarships available, as well as walk-on opportunities. Anyone interested in being a part of the Northwest-Shoals Cross-Country teams should visit or email Wells at