Lawrence Township Remembers Coach Bell

Written by
Kyle Sherman
Published on
June 19, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PDT June 19, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PDTth, June 19, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PDT

Friday Night Lights. More than 30 years ago, during a Friday football game at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana …

the entire community along with teachers, students and athletes took part in a halftime ceremony, naming the school’s stadium in recognition of their longtime teacher and coach,

Coach Bell taught in Lawrence Township for 25 years where he served both Lawrence Central and Lawrence North –the two teams that were playing that day- as not only a respected track and football coach, physical education department chairman, health and physical education teacher and athletic director, but an insightful and inspirational mentor who always had time for his students.

Shortly after the naming of the Dwaine C. Bell Stadium, on October 22, 1983, Coach Bell succumbed to cancer. During the years he fought the disease so courageously, the varsity football team placed bells across the back of their football jerseys, to show their support … and their pride.

The Symbol of the Bell

In 1984, the Wildcat Athletic Mother’s Organization donated a bell to the school, to stand as a symbol of the spirit of Coach Bell, to share for generations. Every time the Wildcats won at home, the bell would ring in remembrance of Coach Bell.

“The bell had been moved around over the years and had been all but forgotten,” says Grant Nesbit, Ed.S. Director of Athletics at Lawrence North High School. “As the school’s football program is being revived, we wanted to make a permanent home for the bell. Through the efforts of football parents and school officials, a new monument was built over the summer.”

The New Memorial Bell

On another Friday, this time on October 10, 2014 at Lawrence North High School, the Dwaine Bell Memorial Bell was re-dedicated at Dwaine C. Bell Stadium. The new monument features the original school bell from Castleton High School along with a beautiful plaque, which tells the story of Coach Bell. PlaqueMaker donated the custom granite plaque in honor of this event at my daughter’s school. On hand for the ceremony were family members of the late coach including his widow, Joanne Bell, son, Brad Bell and brother, Ron Bell as well as former Lawrence North coaches Steve Collier, Doug Reeser and Bob Potter.

For the Wildcats, their teachers, family, friends and teammates, the spirit of Coach Bell can be felt for generations to come.