Richard W. Wells was born in Glendale, California. Dick’s formative years were spent in Los Angeles where he attended North Hollywood High School. He was a leader, serving as Senior Class President (1949) and athlete, receiving all San Fernando Valley and L.A. City honors in football.
He attended Occidental College where he graduated in 1953 with a B.A. degree in Physical Education. He was a 3-year letterman on the Occidental football team and a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Dick joined the U.S. Navy in 1953 and served in active duty until March 1961. He attended Officer Candidate School in 1953-54 and flight training in 1954. He was stationed at Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas from 1954 to 1957 and at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, California from 1957 to 1961. He left active duty in the U.S. Navy at the rank of Lieutenant Commander, but joined the Navy Reserve and served at the Naval Air Station in Los Alamitos, California until 1969. During his Navy career Dick logged over 2800 hours of flight time and 130 arrested landings aboard carriers.
He attended graduate school at San Diego State College (1961-63) where he was appointed Instructor in 1961. He received his M.A. degree in Physical Education in 1963. Later he attended Cal Western College and U.C.L.A (1970-1974) where he completed courses toward a doctorate.
Dick continued to serve on the faculty at San Diego State from 1961 until his retirement in December of 1995. He had a long and productive career. His teaching was primarily in the teacher preparation and sports activity areas, including introductory P.E., organization and administration of P.E., and teaching methods.
He coached freshman and JV football teams (1961-64) and was Head Track & Field Coach for 10 years (1961-1972). His track and field teams were NCAA College Division Champions in 1966 and 1967. He coached numerous College Division All-Americans, including Arnie Robinson, who later won an Olympic bronze medal (1972) and then an Olympic gold medal (1976) in the long jump. Dick also directed the U.S. Olympic Track & Field summer training program in 1971 and 1972 for sprinters and hurdlers.
Dick served as Department Chair of Physical Education from 1973 to 1978. For many years (1968-1990) he directed the Summer Youth Fitness Program at San Diego State. In addition he served as undergraduate advisor for physical education majors from 1978 to 1995, at which time Dick retired as Emeritus Associate Professor of Physical Education.
Dick remained active in coaching by serving as volunteer Assistant Track & Field Coach at Hoover High School in San Diego. He continued coaching until 2006.
Dick and wife Barbara enjoy their retirement life in San Diego.