Support from her family has been the key element in the overall success of Linda Wells during her career in the softball profession.
Wells, a Pacific native and a graduate of Pacific High School, has enjoyed a standout softball career in the playing and coaching ranks.
"My parents, sisters, brother, grandmother, nieces, cousin and many members of my extended family have given me so much support throughout my playing and coaching careers," Wells said.
"Our family is tight. We hang out together. We play games together. We ride bikes. We eat out," Wells continued. "Many of my teammates and coaching friends have become close to my family. They laugh at us. ‘You travel in packs,' they say. Someone comes in, everyone hugs and kisses them. You go to the store, everyone hugs you goodbye and hugs you again on your return."
This September, Wells will participate in her eighth hall of fame induction when she goes into the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame.
Wells also is a member of the Southeast Missouri State University Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Softball Hall of Fame, among others.
Wells was the 2008 Olympic coach for the Greek national team, the former U.S. National and Pan American coach, the former coach for the Netherlands Olympic team and the former head coach at Arizona State University.
Wells played softball from 1956-1993 in organized competition.
She was a member of the Kirkwood, Manchester and St. Louis teams, and participated in 17 national championships in softball.
Wells played and coached professionally during her years with the Chicago Ravens and the St. Louis Hummers, of the Women's International Professional Softball League.
Wells coached three sports at the University of Minnesota and softball at Arizona State University.
Wells became the head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils softball team in 1989 where she coached the team to 14 NCAA Regional appearances in 16 years.
She guided the Sun Devils to NCAA College World series appearances in 1999 and 2002.
Linda is the daughter of David and Blanche Wells, who still reside in Pacific.
"My parents are very proud of all of us," Wells said. "And I, of course, am so proud of them."
To say that Wells knows her parents is an obvious understatement.
"My parents are a great couple. They are dedicated to one another, yet they each do their own thing," Wells said. "My dad might watch the Cardinals game. So will my mom, until they get to the bullpen. Then she usually yells at the manager and the reliever and goes to the bedroom to watch the "A Team" or "Matlock." She enjoys playing a game on her laptop, but you are as likely to find her scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees."
Wells has fond memories of growing up in Pacific.
"My father was a day laborer after his high school graduation and married my mother in the driveway of my grandparents home on Thornton Street in Pacific," she said. "They built the Payne Street home themselves and by the time we moved into the upper level, my brother and I had lived in the basement with my parents and my sister Marti joined the family just after the move. They also lived with my dad's parents as well as in a couple of rentals around Pacific. It was a big deal to have their own home and the Hogan neighborhood consisted of about six homes with Payne Street being a gravel road.
"When I was in junior high, our family made a gigantic move around the corner to St. Louis Street. The Payne Street property was rented out and years later my sister Jodi purchased it," Wells continued. "My sister Marti attended Southeast and after playing together in high school, we were also teammates for SEMO.
"Marti married and lives in St. Peters, teaching at a private high school there. She was the softball coach for a period of time and her team made it to the state playoffs. Ken, my brother, graduated from Truman State, coached and taught in St. Louis and also Pacific. He eventually also became an electrician for Butler and just retired last November. Jodi works at Zitzman Elementary in the library. She played volleyball and softball for Pacific."
Wells' parents both made honest livings in the work force.
"When we started elementary school, my mom became a cook at the school and did this job for all of our educational years. She took a break for a few years, but after my little sister Jodi was born, I was a freshman at Southeast, she returned to work," Wells said. "My dad made the leap from his job with my grandfather's drilling company, Shepard Well Drilling, and began to train as an electrician. He completed apprenticeship under Fred Hoven and eventually went to work for Butler. He retired from his work as an electrician."
Support from her parents always was there for Wells growing up.
"My father was always very supportive of me as a youngster. He allowed me to participate as a tomboy in many family and neighborhood sports events, go hunting with him and my grandfather, go fishing, whatever I wanted to try," Wells said. "He assisted in the development of the Khoury League when I was 6, and I was encouraged to participate. He served as a league and school board member during my childhood and tried to contribute to better the educational and athletic offerings for both the boys and the girls.
"My mother always hoped I would grow out of my sports, but when I began playing professionally for the St. Louis Hummers, I think she began to understand the importance of sports in my life. She joined my father often in the backyard and the family was always engaged in some sporting endeavor."
David Wells, described by his daughter as strong and athletic, played basketball for Pacific.
"My dad is patient and kind. He is always doing something for someone else," Wells said. "He is compassionate and thinks before he speaks. He is interested in politics, tractors, gardening and being independent."
Blanche Wells also was described as a strong individual.
"My mom takes no prisoners. You do not want to get on her bad side," Wells said. "She was before her time in domestic violence and had no time for behaviors that were sometimes prevalent in her own childhood. She will stand up for herself and argue until she is blue with my dad. She is an equal and is not about to waste away the hours feeling sorry for herself."
The support was always there from her parents.
"My parents attended events at the high school and although they were raising my little sister Jodi, they came to almost every Hummers game, Jodi was often the bat girl," Wells said. "They watched my teams play during my career at Minnesota and made annual treks to Phoenix. My family attended the College World Series for years. They have traveled to Hawaii, Athens and across the country to watch me or my teams compete. When they could afford it, they came. When they could not afford it, they came anyway."