Wells ‘humbled and honored’ by Hall of Fame induction

Polk County athletic director Rex Wells, center, accepts his entry into the North Carolina Athletic Directors Hall of Fame (Aaron Greene photo).

As Rex Wells surveyed the crowd gathered for last week’s North Carolina Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame ceremonies, he kept spotting familiar faces.

So, so many familiar faces, most of those belonging to good friends, all smiling as they congratulated Wells on his Hall of Fame induction.

There might have been a watery eye or two along the way as well.

“One of the best nights of my life,” said Wells, Polk County’s athletic director and one of four members of the NCADA’s 24th Hall of Fame class. “It’s special any time you’re recognized by your peers.”

Wells joined David Ball of Asheville, Donnie Baxter of Randolph County and Steve Rankin of Troutman as new members of the Hall. The group was honored during a ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville as part of the 47th annual North Carolina Athletic Directors Association state conference.

A state champion wrestling and football coach, Wells spent 13 years as athletic director at Asheville High School before retiring in 2015. Polk County lured Wells out of that retirement with an offer to be the school’s part-time AD, though anyone around Wolverine athletics since his arrival can attest there’s not been much part-time about his role.

“We extend our congratulations to Rex Wells for this great honor,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. “I was fortunate to be present at Mr. Wells’ induction and hear firsthand the immense respect his peers and the entire athletic community have for him and his work.

“Mr. Wells is certainly deserving of the honor, and Polk County is lucky to have this Hall of Fame athletic director serving our students and programs.”

Having Ball as a fellow inductee added to the value of the evening for Wells.

“David and I are on speed dial,” Wells said. “We talk two or three times a week. Athletic directors are a close-knit group. We talk to each other all the time.

“There are a lot of guys who I coached against and built relationships with over the years who are now athletic directors who were there (at the ceremony), so that was neat. I was very humbled and honored.”