NewsMVNU Alum in Ninth Season with NBA's Houston Rockets
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - One of the common myths that are heard when high school students are in the process of selecting a college or university to attend is that large state schools are the only avenue to some of the more elite jobs in today's work force.
However, Mount Vernon Nazarene University graduate Mike Wells (class of 1993) would disprove that theory by saying that hard work and perseverance can go along way in helping you land that dream job.
Wells, who played on the Cougars' basketball team for two seasons before serving as an assistant coach at the NAIA Division II school for two years, is now in his ninth season as part of the coaching staff for the NBA's Houston Rockets.
The road to the top has been an uphill climb for Wells, a native of Mount Vernon, Ohio. After graduating from MVNU, he completed his master's degree in sports science at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama.
At that point, he landed an internship with the Rockets in their corporate services department during the 1994-95 season - the second of the team's back-to-back NBA title seasons.
The next year, Wells was promoted to the position of assistant video coordinator, and he moved into the role of video coordinator the following year in 1996.
Prior to the 1998-99 season, Wells was promoted once again to the position of assistant coach/video coordinator. His duties now include assisting head coach Rudy Tomjanovich on the bench and handling game preparation details. He is also still heavily involved in computerized video editing and scouting Rockets' opponents and potential draft picks.
During his time in Houston, Wells has had several other unique basketball opportunities. He spent the summer of 2000 traveling with the United States Senior National Team, which played in the Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He has also spent three summers with USA Basketball, including assisting at the 1998 World Championship of Basketball in Athens, Greece, and the 1999 Tournament of the Americas in Puerto Rico.
"The work situation in Houston is really unique in today's professional sports setting," said Wells, when asked about his nine years with the organization. "We are really one big family here, and we are treated like that from the top down. (Coach) Rudy (Tomjanovich) has been with the team for 33 years as a player and then working his way up through the organization. Our general manager (Carroll Dawson) is in his 23rd year with the franchise. While most teams have great turnover in leadership, we have been very fortunate here."
This season has been especially exciting for Wells and the Rockets as they currently are in seventh place in the Western Conference with a 22-15 record. Two Houston players, Steve Francis and #1 draft pick, Yao Ming, are also both in the running to start the 2003 All-Star Game. Finally, the team is also poised to move into a new downtown arena at the start of next season.