OVC: Basketball is a family affair for coaching couple

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 10:00pm

Chase Wells made his first recruiting trip last week to Kentucky.

Why is that significant? Because Chase is 3 months old.

But with college basketball coaches as parents, sometimes sacrifices must be made. The Wells family knows about that.

Even before Chase was born on Nov. 30, his parents, Charles and Tracee, lived hectic lives. For the last six years, Charles has been an assistant coach for Austin Peay’s men’s basketball team and Tracee has been the head coach of the Tennessee State women’s basketball team.

“It is really, really crazy,” Charles said. “It can be hectic, especially with the recruiting and everything going on.”

“Logistics is what is the difficult part,” added Tracee.

Tracee and Charles married three years ago — they met through work — and currently live in Antioch, which means Charles’ commute to Clarksville every day can range from an hour to an hour and a half, depending on traffic.

With Chase in the picture, things have had to be juggled.

Chase used to tag along to practices. Now he gets taken to daycare and Tracee has received extra help. Since December, her mother, Deborah Jones, who recently retired, has either flown or driven in from her hometown of Belleville, Ill., every Wednesday and stays through that following Sunday. She lends a hand, especially on the weekends, while Tracee and Charles tend to games.

“I had to thank my dad a million times over that he is willing to be without his wife,” said Tracee, who added Charles’ mother, Barbara, has also come out to help. “It has helped us because he has been able to focus on his job and I have been able to focus on mine.”

Both have settled in nicely at their respective alma maters.

Charles played at Austin Peay from 1993-97 and left as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

Tracee played at TSU from 1994-98 and was on the last Lady Tiger team (1998) to win the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. She has been on the TSU coaching staff since 2002, serving as an assistant for two years, then taking over as the interim coach for one season before being promoted to head coach in 2005.

She failed to change the Lady Tigers’ tournament fortunes this year. TSU fell 57-55 to Jacksonville State in a first-round matchup Wednesday.

Charles will attempt to keep the family business thriving a little longer when Austin Peay opens tournament play with a quarterfinal contest, 8 p.m. Thursday.

Still, both say it is not all about basketball in the Wells household.

“We have our days when we say we don’t want to talk about work,” Tracee said. “We don’t want to watch a basketball game on TV. We just want to play with the baby.”