The Greenville University Panthers have shown steady improvements over the past few seasons. One of the key contributors to their success is their defense. When defensive coordinator Lamar Bell came back to GU in 2017, the team allowed 345 yards per game and 31.3 points per game. Last year, the Panthers allowed 325 yards per game and 23 points per game.
Bell was born and raised in Long Island, New York. Bell attended Bay Shore High School. In high school, he played as a running back, wide receiver, and defensive back. Playing on both offense and defense allowed Bell to expand his knowledge of the game and is one of the reasons he is such a great coach. Rasheed Amos, a transfer sophomore defensive back at Greenville, said, “He brings a lot of intensity to practice every day, and his main goal is to make you better than you were the day before. His game scouting and his energy on and off the field what makes him such a good coach.” Coach Bell has had an interesting path towards his current role for the Panthers.
After attending college at High Point University, Bell decided that he wanted to pursue a career in coaching. He first was an intern at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He then began to look for graduate assistant jobs on a coaching website called Football Scoop. At first, Bell could only find full-time assistant jobs, but a few days later, Greenville had posted a job in search of a football graduate assistant. He took the interview over the phone and was later offered to opportunity to visit the campus, and would eventually accept the job. Bell’s first stint with the team lasted for 2 seasons from 2012-2013.
In 2014, Bell became the defensive coordinator for the Bluefield College Rams. When Bell arrived there, the team was allowing an average of 55 points per game. In 2016, just 2 years after his joining the staff, the team was only allowing their opponents to score 18.6 points per game on average. However, running the defense was not Bell’s only responsibility. In his time with the Rams, Bell was heavily involved with the recruiting process. Bell also had many other smaller roles such as an academic coordinator, highlight and video coordinator, and an athletic representative for the college’s hiring committee. The combination of all of these roles has allowed Bell to grow into the coach that he is today.
After his success at Bluefield, he decided to come back to Greenville in 2017 as a full-time assistant. Not only is Bell Greenville University’s defensive coordinator, but he is also the associate head coach, offensive skilled position coach, and NCAA compliance officer. While he has many roles for the Panthers, he recently earned a new title: husband. Bell met his wife, Bethany, in January of 2018 at a group for his church. After a few months, they started dating in March of that year. They dated for almost a year before he decided it was time to propose. The Bells tied the knot in December of 2019.
Bell is a great leader both on and off the field. Sophomore linebacker, Brandon Martin, talked about how much energy Bell brings to the team. He said, “You have to love [Coach Bell]. He brings the energy every day, gets us pumped up, and makes us work harder.” Catch Coach Bell in action this spring when the GU Panthers take the field.
Media by Paul Garrett.