By TJ Millman
As they do every year, the Milford Football Hall of Fame added new members to its exclusive ranks. Alex Bell, an ’09 graduate who played both offensive tackle and defensive end for the Bucs, is one of four who were chosen to the 2017 class. Over his 3 years of varsity football, Bell was awarded 1st and 2nd team All-Conference, 1st team All-State, the Keith Booz Award (given to a player who shows ultimate dedication to the program), and the DE Coaches Sportsmanship Award. Bell was also a key part of the 2009 State Championship Team.
Bell was able to start playing football in 8th grade after outgrowing a childhood neck condition that had kept him out of high contact sports. The two people who he looked up to most were his older brother, Jed, and his eventual coach, David Carter.
“Carter is actually why I wore (number) 66. I remember him being over at our house for a family dinner when I was in 7th grade, and he teased me when I told him I was going to play football the next year. I made a point to myself to use that as motivation. It’s pretty cool that he continued to be such an instrumental part of my Milford football career,” Bell said. Carter was one of many coaches who Bell mentioned as keys to his success.
“Tkach was a father figure on the field that I really needed in high school, especially with football still being new for me. I remember Carter meeting me for 6 am workouts before school. Coaches Simon and Wink taught me the importance of discipline and fundamentals. I looked to Coach Gore when trying to understand the grind and dedication needed to play at the next level, as well as the confidence needed on the field. Even my lacrosse coaches, Pickard and Christie, helped push the leadership piece on me by teaching me to be a catalyst and communicator with my guys on the field,” Bell said.
Bell’s favorite Milford football moments are not instances of individual achievement, they are moments of camaraderie. Among others, he remembers running onto the field to celebrate teammate Jerrell Allen returning a punt for a touchdown against an IR team that was #2 in the state, as well as representing Milford in the Blue Gold game with teammates Ryan Deeney, Chris Drummond, and Jason Kollock.
Today, Alex teaches at a public charter in Harlem, writes freelance for a few different hip-hop journalism publications, and coaches his middle school’s flag football team. Bell’s passion for teaching was born from watching his mother and step-father work as he grew up.
“My mom had a huge impact on me as a teacher, and my step-dad as a vice principal. I think that having the structure that academics were number one had a large impact on me as a student athlete, but it also showed me the level of impact you have with helping to mold young children. Teaching gives me an opportunity to give back that same positive energy that I saw and continue to see my mom and step-dad do on a daily basis. If I could end up being half the teacher that my mother is, I might be happy,” Bell said.
To say that Alex Bell is driven would be an understatement. His passion for what he does, as well as his drive to succeed, are what earned Bell a Division 1 scholarship for college football and eventually drove him to New York City. Bell moved to NYC to teach in an urban environment, but also to make a name for himself in the world of hip-hop journalism.
“Being in a city that allows me to dual-wield my passions, it also humanizes me to my students. They see what I’m doing outside of school, what kind of dreams I am still chasing, and it builds the bond I have with them that much more,” Bell said.
Alex Bell will go in to the Milford Football Hall of Fame not only for his achievements, which make him worthy enough, but also because of the moral character the he displayed on the field and still displays to this day.
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