Travelers’ manager Phillip Wellman joins Arkansas after spending three years with the Springfield Cardinals as their hitting coach. With 30 years in professional baseball, Wellman has managed 15 years in the minor leagues including an eight-year stint in the Southern League with the Mississippi Braves and Chattanooga Lookouts.
You mentioned before that if the opportunity arose, you would love to coach third base in the Big Leagues. Why is that?
Don’t get me wrong, I would take any Big League coaching job, but my goal is to coach third base. A lot of responsibility is involved, and to me, it is the closest thing to being a player. You have to make quick decisions in the game, and I like that.
Is Arkansas and Little Rock what you thought it would be like?
I’ve been here before when I was at Springfield. It’s nice, and we like it here.
Have to ask the question about your tirade with the Mississippi Braves that is still on YouTube. What are your thoughts today?
I don’t regret that, but it is not one of my proudest moments. It happened June 1, seven years ago. In my mind that is a long time ago. But, they keep showing it on ESPN all the time, and it is what it is. I don’t run from it or hide from it and have done bigger and better things in baseball since then. It’s unfortunate that is how a lot of people remember me.
What do you think of the Texas League?
I spent 10 years in the Southern League, and they are very comparable. AA is basically the same except here the travel is easier except when we go South.
Have you coached at other levels and which do you like best?
I’ve coached in AAA but actually like AA. It is more gratifying because the guys are still maturing and still need more teaching.
Tell us about your family.
Daughter Britnee is 25 years old, graduated from Baylor and teaches 11th-grade English in Tuscaloosa and works at the Boys and Girls Club. Son Brett is 22 and right now is our bullpen catcher. He spent four years at Auburn University at Montgomery and was hoping to get drafted. He is hoping to get picked up by someone who needs a catcher. We talk a lot of baseball.
You own a home in Chattanooga. How does that work during the season?
Right now, we are renting it out to the strength and conditional coach for Chattanooga. Both seasons are over at the same time, so we’ll go back. My wife Montee is with me here and since the kids are older, we can do that. It used to be tougher when they were younger, and we still don’t get to see our daughter as much.
What do you do in the off-season?
I hunt deer and also give hitting lessons a couple of days.