Bell retiring after 19 years as Leon County AD

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tuesday marked the final day of Ricky Bell’s tenure as the full-time Leon County Athletic Director.

Bell took over the athletic director job in 2001, after serving as the head football coach at Rickards High School for six years.

“I got out of coaching because I felt like, at Rickards High School, I had accomplished all I could do,” Bell said, “But it was getting harder and harder to compete with some of the local schools and to keep my kids. Some of the schools were cherry-picking some of them.”

Bell said he is proud of the sports he has added as athletic director.

“Girls weightlifting,” Bell said. “Sand volleyball, it’s a sport now. We were one of the first ones to start the sports as a club.”

Bell also played a key role in the process of getting all the public schools with field turf. So far, Chiles and Leon have had turf fields installed; Godby declined.

“I think that’s one of the best things because it provides a great playing surface all year long,” Bell said.

Most recently, Bell helped Tallahassee become the host for the class A-AAA football state championship games.

”Frank Beasley with the FHSAA was talking about a lot of the rural schools and A, AA, AAA schools didn’t like going to Orlando and the big stadium because it just seemed like it was empty.”

When Bell heard this, he remembered Gene Cox Stadium was recently resurfaced and invited the FHSAA to come look at the facility.

”They came up and looked at the stadium and recommended a couple of little small things that we could do and we did it and worked great,” Bell said.

Bell also helped with the expansion of middle school sports, which were eliminated after the school system did away with the junior high system.

“[Ronnie Youngblood] asked me to help me bring middle school football back,” Bell said. “We meet with the middle school principals and they agreed to do it. We raised the start-up money off fundraisers and donations.”

Bell said that middle school football revenue pays for the other middle school sports.

“It’s kind of centralized purchasing,” Bell said. “This office handles the purchasing of the jerseys and the balls.”

And, after 44 years in education, Bell says he is ready to retire.

“It’s been a blessing to me,” Bell said, “But it’s time for me to move on and let some whippersnapper take over.”

Scott Hanson takes over on July 1 as county AD. Bell will stay on part-time until the end of this calendar year.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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