Cardington alumni remember Coach Bell
By Evelyn Long -
The death of Dr. Dennis Bell on August 26, stirred memories of many of his former players, students and friends in Cardington.
Dr. Bell was the first football coach when Cardington High School resumed football in 1947. He coached football, basketball and baseball for several years and left Cardington in 1957. He was also a teacher in the Cardington School and was active in the community which included the Cardington Rotary Club.
Several of his former players, students and local residents shared their memories of Dr. Bell.
NOEL UNDERWOOD, Marysville, said “Dennis Bell was a man I highly respected. I owe my education to him for my success in life. I corresponded with him on a regu– lar basis.”
JOYCE UNDERWOOD WEBER, Ashland, was a cheerleader, and played basketball under Bell. “He was a great person, coach, teacher and a man you can never forget. He was respectful, one who cared about his students. He was just an all around good guy.”
DEWEY YAKE, Waldo, “He was one of the best coaches I ever had. He was always involved in baseball. In basketball, he would make us each shoot ten foul shots in a row before we went to the showers. The shoot around was done by Bill Maxwell, Paul Bowman, Kent Curl and myself. We played in an Independent baseball team and Mr. Bell always played with us.”
HAROLD BEAN, Mansfield: “He had a team of farm boys — I didn’t even know what a first and ten was. He was very nice, gentle– he took us to McComb to his folks’ home one time and we stayed there and played basketball. His folks were really nice. We had a great time. I talked to him a month ago. He was a heck of a nice guy.”
ROGER DAVIS, Murfreesboro, Tenn “Mr. Bell was my kind of baseball coach. If we came to school and didn’t have a game that day, and the weather looked good, he got on the phone and found us a game to play somewhere. He was a gentleman’s gentleman.”
CARL STEVENS, Woodstock, Georgia: “When I talked to Denny after graduation, he would always say ‘Carl, you need your b– kicked for not staying in baseball because you could have played in professional baseball. Whenever we talked he always brought that up. I loved the guy. He was a great person.”
BILL HENTHORNE, Cardington, “I remember we had a very good baseball team my junior and senior years, coached by Mr. Bell. He would schedule games to play and we would travel all over the state of Ohio just so we could play baseball on Saturdays. He took a back seat to no one.”
HAL CLINGER, Mount Gilead, “We kept in contact — we had our military service in common — I told him one time that having served in the military I had worked for a lot of colonels and generals and I ranked him right up there with them. I played football and basketball for him — my dad wouldn’t let me play in the spring because we had spring planting duties.”
NADENE COYKENDALL UNDERWOOD, Cardington, “Coach Bell earned the respect of his team. His dedication to them and theirs to him was both on and off the field of play. Their dedication follows the coach even to today. He was a good role model.”
RON PINE, Caledonia: “Bell and Noel Underwood talked me into Defiance College and if it weren’t for Coach Bell and his guidance, I wouldn’t have been where I am today.”
DOYLE SMITH, Cardington, “I enjoyed playing for him — He played some independent baseball games with us.”
FRED WILLIAMSON, Cardington, “Bell made me a captain and I was the captain for the Ashley game– during that game a pass was thrown in my area– and I missed it. Bell came over to me and said ‘Fred, catch that pass the next time.’ He always gave us dextrose at half time — he would watch the game and pick out individuals and urge them to do better. One time Dalton Jenkins said he couldn’t raise his right arm and he was playing anyway– then we found out he had broken his shoulder. The first year we had helmets and played in t-shirts and shorts, the second year we had scarlet and grey uniforms the boosters bought for us.”
CECIL MAXWELL, Cardington, who knew Dr. Bell as a member of the community, the Rotary Club and as a neighbor, recalled that he was nicknamed “Hands in the Pocket” for awhile and he explained that one night a man got mad at him at a game and took a swing at him. Bell just stood there with his hands in his pocket. He did a great job of coaching and had such a beautiful outlook.”
Dr. Bell’s wife, Carnetta, expressed her appreciation for these comments and for the football players remembering her husband with a floral arrangement at his memorial service. Dr. Bell resided in Pinehurst, North Carolina.