January 2008

Hot For Teacher: Meet Chris Wells!

Author: Jean Wharton

Don’t confuse this handsome teacher and coach with our ’07 Bachelor…there’s a new fella at the top of the crop: MR. CHRIS WELLS. He fits handsomely into a baseball uniform, has a head for business and a fantastic personality. Growing up all over the
country in a close knit army family certainly contributed to the well-rounded sense of this bachelor. My prediction… he won’t be single much longer. Ladies of HHI, enjoy, and keep pestering CH2 to do a BACHELORETTE of the YEAR!

THE FACTS
Age: 35
Hometown: Army Brat
Drink of choice on the night of interview: Absolut & grapefruit followed by a Pinot Grigio with the entrée
Meal of choice on the night of the interview: Shellfish bisque followed by a 12-oz. pork chop
Outfit: Black button down, green t-shirt underneath with dark jeans

JW: What do you do, where do you do it and why?
CW: I’ve called Hilton Head home for 11 years and have been teaching at Hilton Head High School for those same years. I’m the baseball coach as well as the assistant athletic director. I started out as a business management teacher but initiated the sports
marketing program three years ago and now primarily teach that. The class has really been successful. I love teaching but consider myself a coach first. That’s really where my passion lies.

JW: It’s great that the school offers pre-professional classes in business.
CW: The class is really more hands on than academic. The students are involved with the athletic department, promoting the sports teams, setting up events and fundraisers, working the concession booths at games and putting together many homecoming
activities. It’s great exposure to the fundamentals of marketing. Each year, they raise several thousand dollars for the American Heart Association and sponsor other tournaments to raise money for different charities.

JW: How has it been for you since you were nominated for Bachelor of the Year?
CW: All of the women in my world; my sister, aunts, grandmother, and principal of Hilton Head High have been having more fun with it then I have. The magazine asked me to keep the fact that I won a secret until the January issue comes out, which has been the biggest struggle of this thing. If you tell me a secret about yourself, it’s locked up in the vault. But I have the hardest time keeping a secret about myself. I’m an open book. I hate feeling that I’ve been dishonest in any way.

JW: Well honesty is an excellent personality trait.
CW: I consider myself a very loyal person. People trust me, but I sometimes get myself into trouble for being too frank.

JW: How did the students react to your nomination?
CW: Once one person found out it was all over the school. I suppose I’ve had a built-in fan base here, which was nice.

JW: Did you vote for yourself?
CW: Of course I did! Can you imagine if I lost by one vote!

JW: You’ve lived on Hilton Head for 11 years, which pretty much makes you a local. Where did you grow up?
CW: My father is retired Army, so we moved around while I was growing up. I went to high school in Hawaii and had an opportunity to play baseball after graduation, but gave it up to pursue my college education. My family had moved to South Carolina and I decided it was going to be difficult to chase the dream in Hawaii.

JW: I’m sorry. Did you say you went to high school in Hawaii? That must have been hard for you…
CW: Yeah, it was rough. I have a lot of fond memories from high school. Every Wednesday we’d get out of school at noon. Everyone would pack up their lunches and surf boards and head to the beach for the afternoon. Dress code was the best—girls could wear bikini tops to calculus in the morning, and shoes were always optional.

JW: Who do you think is the most beautiful person alive today?
CW: Wow, that’s a loaded question.

JW: Present company excluded, of course.
CW: In my life today, I’d say the most beautiful person is my aunt. She’s been an inspiration to me since my mom died when I was 13 from leukemia. She was my mom’s little sister and never had children of her own. She considers my sister and me her two
kids. She was my “young aunt,” who would come visit me in college at USC when my father was stationed overseas. She’s been a role model to me in many areas of my life. She fought and recovered from cancer in the last few years, and on top of that, she’s in unbelievable shape, is a master swimmer. Across all aspects of her life, she’s a good person and makes everyone she’s in contact with better.

JW: You’re family lives in the area?
CW: My dad, stepmom, aunt and grandma all live in Beaufort. My sister and her family live in Columbia. She and I are very close.

JW: Okay, no more softball questions…why are you still single?
CW: I can’t find the right person, I suppose. Hilton Head is a tough place to meet single professional women. I’m content as a bachelor and happy so I’m not going to rush into things. But I’d love to find someone and not be single. I don’t have a good answer to that question, and I get asked it all the time. I suppose being a teacher and coach makes it hard to meet people, especially in a small community.

JW: Do the baseball moms try to set you up with women?
CW: Yes, yes they do. In fact I was introduced to a previous girlfriend on a blind date that one of the moms at the high school set up. I’m not really a blind date sort of guy, but we dated for about a year. Ultimately, it didn’t work out for other reasons. The moms do love to meddle a little bit and play cupid.

JW: I just finished the He Says/She Says column for the month of January about New Year’s resolutions…do you have one for 2008?
CW: Last year was actually the first time I made a resolution and I finished the year successful. After being around some of my family last holiday season, I noticed many had gained serious amounts of weight in recent years. So in 2007, I resolved to not eat fast food or drink soda, and I’ve managed to lose 20 pounds. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat pizza or sub sandwiches, because I do. I’m sure come 12:01 a.m. on New Year’s Day, I’ll be eating a cheeseburger.

JW: Now, I have list of questions here that were formulated by the staff of CH2. And since she’s my editor, Maggie Washo wants to know, What color is your soul?
CW: Huh? Well it’s not black; its definitely not black. No one wants a black soul. I guess as a guy, blue comes to mind. But since I don’t really understand the point of the question, I’m not exactly sure. Get back to me on that one.

JW: I didn’t say that all of the questions were going to make sense, I just said I had some random questions.
CW: Those are the kinds of questions that were on the Bachelor of the Year application. I had to call my friends for help when I was tapped out of cleaver ideas.

JW: If you could have another career what would it be?
CW: Hummm? I’d have to say professional golfer. Every week you’re in a different location; you can have a long career and of course the money is outragous. Seems like a lot of fun out there on the PGA Tour. Just being a weekend hacker, I’d love to be that good.

JW: How does golf compare to baseball?
CW: I love to get out and play golf. Like a lot of baseball players, I’m pretty competitive. And since there is a swing involved and this ball doesn’t move, most people think “Hey, I might be pretty good at that!” It’s not that simple, of course. I got turned on to golf by playing with my dad a lot. It was a great way for us to spend time together and connect. I wouldn’t say it comes naturally, but I do enjoy it the 4-1/2 hours outside with friends, taking advantage of the courses here around Hilton Head.

JW: What else do you like to do on the weekends?
CW: Relax, recharge and get away from the teenage world. Whenever possible, I like travel up to Columbia to watch the Gamecocks. I went up to Carolina to see about five football games this year. Or I head to Beaufort to visit with my family if I don’t have plans with friends on the island—head to the beach or out on a boat, something relaxing. Most of the time when I walk in the door from school, I just need some time
to be alone. I don’t really answer my phone so I can just relax.

JW: Where do you like to hang out on Hilton Head?
CW: I spend some time at the Frosty Frog, I know a bartender there and its a good hideaway. I don’t really have a regular hang out; most often I have people over to my house. I like to get a poker game together or hang out at the pool when the weather’s
nice.

JW: Who do you like in baseball?
CW: I’m a Braves fan first and a Yankees fan second. Anti Red Sox. I love watching baseball at all levels of the game, but the only team I don’t root for is the
Red Sox. But I love going to Fenway; its an awesome place to watch a game. I would never turn down tickets to a game. I want to get to Yankee Stadium before the new arena is built.

JW: I think that there is something in the male brain that is able to keep up with baseball stats.
CW: Its the same thing with women being able to keep up with who’s dating who in US magazine. Why do you think I started the sports marketing program at HHHS? So I could teach something I know and love. I often have to convince my friends that there is educational value in teaching Fantasy Football to my students.

JW: Do you have any pets?
CW: I grew up with a dog and consider myself a dog person, but I don’t have any pets. I’m always on the go, so its hard to have an animal to take care of, I’d be worried that I’d be neglecting it. I choose not to right now; but I can see myself someday having a big yard and dog to take out back and play ball.

JW: What’s your schedule?
CW: I’m at school by 6:30 a.m. most days, and during baseball season, if we have an away game I may not get home until midnight.

JW: What do you do during you summer?
CW: I haven’t had summer job in years, although maybe I could have or should have. I’m not interested in working 35-40 hours during the summer when I put in so much time during the school year, especially since summer break comes right on the heels of baseball season. I like taking advantage of that perk to teaching. I’ve traveled a bit over the last few summers, but living on Hilton Head, when you have down time you don’t really need to go anywhere for vacation. I take advantage of the beach, pool and
golf, do stuff I don’t have a chance to do during the school year.

JW: So, you’ve had two cocktails and the entrée has been served, what color is your soul?
CW: I suppose it’s transparent. I pride myself as being an open book. I don’t keep secrets from my friends and family. I’ll share just about anything with anyone at anytime. Typically I trust people right out of the box. I’m not one to make you earn my trust; but if you looe it, you’ve lost it. I’m just transparent by nature.

JW: Describe yourself in one word?
CW: Come on, who does that? No one can describe himself in one word. If I had to, I’d say loyal, sometimes to a fault. I’ve stayed in jobs and relationships too long because of loyalty. But I’m loyal to my friends and family and I think that people would describe me at loyal.

JW: What do you look forward to everyday and in your
life in general?
CW: Everyday, I look forward to the last bell. Each week, I like to have something to look forward to whether it be Friday night poker, tailgating at USC…just something to plan and look forward to. In life in general I’m ultimately looking forward to “that match.” I don’t think I’m going to be a crusty old man. I could be happy being single the rest of my life, but I don’t want to have any regrets, and that may be why I’m single. I don’t want to settle; it’s got to be right. That person I can come home to every day, to be best friends with and go through the journey together.

JW: What type of music do you listen to?
CW: My go to music is old school 80s rap. The fun sing along hip-hop. I mix it up. I’ve got Jack Johnson in my CD player right now. If it’s something new and happening, I have no idea who they are, especially alternative music. I don’t even have an iPod, but its on my Christmas list.

JW: What made you want to enter the Bachelor contest?
CW: Oh, I didn’t. Last year, I found out that someone nominated me but I didn’t follow through with it. I’m content being single but if I could snap my fingers and be in a relationship of significance I would do it in a second. Wanting that and being here is sort of weird, but since two different sets of friends nominated me and when I heard that there was a cash prize, I said “Sign me up!” It seems like all the women have fun with this and my buddies are enjoying giving me a hard time.

JW: Well, get ready, you’re going to see this issue EVERYWHERE!!!
CW: Two women I’ve dated were involved in the contest. A girlfriend from a many years ago was on the panel and a recent ex submitted a question. It was really weird.

JW: Are you the kind of guy that keeps your exes close?
CW: Up until my last two, no. Not that there are that many of them. But I dated someone I work with, so we’ve kept friendly since the break up. The other recent ex moved back to the island, so we’re in touch but not close by any stretch of imagination.

JW: Have you ever had your heart broken?
CW: Yeah, but it was when I was young and naive. I don’t know to what degree it was love. My college girlfriend cheated on me so “Team Woman” took a big hit. That’s the worst nightmare for anyone to find out. I felt stupid and disappointed. In the grand scheme of things, I may not have had my heart broken, but that definitely hurt.

JW: Now that we’ve finsihed this lovely meal, do you
cook?
CW: Yeah, I love to cook. I’m not a chef, but I love it and find it therapeutic to pour a glass of wine and cook up something. I’ll cook anything—lasagana, paella or just grill out. Cooking for someone is one of my favorite dates.

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