b. Feb. 22, 1899, Ft. Worth, TX
d. June 30, 1983
One of the greatest coaches in Southwest Conference history, Bell coached five schools to winning records during his twenty-six year career. He played end at Centre College in Kentucky from 1916 through 1919. During that period, the team won 25 games while losing only 2 and tying 3.
Bell took up coaching at Haskell Institute in Kansas in 1920, planning to save money so he could go to law school. After two seasons there and one at Carroll College, he became head coach at Texas Christian in 1923. His teams won 33 games, lost 17, and tied 5 in six seasons.
Texas A & M hired him away in 1929. He was fired after the 1933 season, mainly because he failed to beat Southern Methodist, managing only a tie and four losses in five games. Commenting on the lack of material to work with, Bell said, "Any expert diamond cutter, laboriously, painstakingly, and with delicate craftsmanship, can trim the uneven stone which nature gave him, and polish the facets to gleaming brilliance, but I never heard of anyone doing it with a hunk of coal."
Ironically, he took over at Southern Methodist in 1935 after a year out of football and he had his greatest success there. His first team won all 12 of its regular season games before losing to Stanford, 7-0, in the Rose Bowl.
After serving in the Navy from 1942 through 1944, Bell returned to SMU in 1945. Led by Doak Walker, the school won 9 games and tied 1 in 1947 and had an 8-1-1 record in 1948. In two Cotton Bowl appearances, SMU tied Penn State, 13-13, and beat Oregon, 21-13.
Bell retired from coaching after the 1949 season and served as SMU's athletic director until 1964. His overall coaching record was 154-87-17, including an 88-39-7 mark at SMU.