Academy private-to-public switch: Wells leaves CAK for HVA

HARDIN VALLEY – A new era for Hardin Valley Academy boys basketball has begun.

The school has hired former Christian Academy of Knoxville head coach Shane Wells to take the reins of its boys program.

Wells was introduced as Hawks’ coach Monday, May 18. He replaces Shane Chambers, who resigned earlier this spring.

“One of the things that appealed to me about Hardin Valley was, I think that it’s one of the few places in Knoxville where you have a community school because Knoxville is so big,” Wells said. “Knoxville is so big, so you’re just in Knoxville.

“Hardin Valley is kind of by itself and you know where your kids are coming from,” he added. “They’re coming from Hardin Valley Middle School, they’re coming from Cedar Bluff Middle School and you get one or two from Karns (Middle)and one or two from Farragut (Middle). You have an elementary school, a middle school and a high school on the same campus, and being at CAK really prepared me for that.”

Shortly after he was hired by HVA, Wells received some good news, along with the rest of the coaches in Knox County Schools. KCS superintendent Bob Thomas announced athletes could begin conditioning after the Memorial Day holiday.

KCS allowed its student-athletes to return for conditioning Tuesday, May 26, and Wells said that will give him and his team a chance to get to know each other.

“This is a trust thing, and I know the guys don’t know me,” Wells said. “And I need to get to know them and they need to get to know me. I need to see them. I need to see who can play and who will work hard.

“You can’t tell that by Zoom meetings, so I’m excited and I’m ready to get started,” he added.

About leaving the Warriors program, “I’ve been at CAK for 11 years, and that’s a quarter of my life,” said Wells, who also will teach physical education at HVA. “What a great place. There are so many great people there.

“And I’m going to miss working with (baseball head coach and assistant athletic director Tommy) Pharr. Tommy is my guy.”

Wells, 45, won 204 games in 11 seasons as coach of the Warriors. Under his guidance, CAK made the state tournament in 2016 and 2020.

Having previously coached at Lenoir City High School, Wells is no stranger to the competition he’ll face in District 4-AAA. “Another thing that appealed to me is the district that I’ll be in,” he said.