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Will Bell steps down as Severna Park football coach; assumes post in Howard County

Katherine Fominykh
Contact Reporterkfominykh@capgaznews.com

When the new football season starts at Severna Park and Will Bell’s not there, he hopes that the Falcons will walk onto the field believing in themselves.

He tried to instill that confidence one last time as he gathered the team at the end of the fall season.

“Couldn’t be more proud of what they were able to accomplish and build together,” Bell said. “With no stadium or facilities, it was easy not to play football at Severna Park. These kids bought in and worked for every bit of success they had. I am grateful to be able to coach such a fine group of young men.”

After four years as head football coach at Severna Park, Bell is stepping down to take the helm at Hammond in Howard County. Bell will replace Shawn Frederick, who resigned the post in November.

In his time with the Falcons, Bell (14-26) transformed a team that languished at 3-7 to a team that was in serious contention for the playoffs last fall.

In the four years before Severna Park, Bell played a crucial role as a position coach and then offensive coordinator at Meade, raising the Mustangs to a pair of Class 4A East region championships and a 33-13 record over four years.

He took what he learned under Meade coach Rich Holzer and applied it to his own program. Under Bell, Falcons earned Capital Gazette All-County first-team honors four times — punter Tim Hanratty (2015), wide receiver Josh Coffman (2016 and 2017) and tackle Luke Childress (2016).

To Hammond athletic director Mike Lerner, Bell’s knack for turning ailing programs around “speaks volumes” and raised the coach above numerous other candidates vying for the job.

“He looks at things the right way,” Lerner said. “The hope is you get every team to believe in something bigger than themselves. That’s school pride. When you’re talking about football, the sum of the parts is bigger than the actual talent. … Will has shown the ability to draw that out of teams.”

For Bell, the move was influenced by the realities of life. His wife, Nicole Trunzo, is the head field hockey and girls lacrosse coach, as well as the physical education teacher, at Glenelg in Howard County. Bell aims to start his life and family — after moving to that area, getting to coach in his home county was an attractive option.

Bell has already grown a presence in Howard County, making friends with area coaches and getting a feel for his new team.

Hammond struggled last season, finishing 2-8 and was shut out six times. Bell has a vision of turning the Golden Bears into a force that can withstand formidable programs like River Hill, Howard and Oakland Mills.

“The football is very competitive, similar to that of Anne Arundel County,” Bell said. “I know I’m walking into a situation where there’s a high potential for success — but also work that needs to be done.”

Those are aspirations Severna Park will miss.

“On behalf of the athletic department and administration at Severna Park High School, we are sorry to hear about the news, but respect Coach Bell's decision,” Severna Park athletic director Dave Lanham said. “We are appreciative of his commitment to building our football program to the status it is today. Coach Bell achieved so many things both on and off the field with the program while never losing sight of the right way to do things. We would like to personally thank him for four great years and wish him well in future endeavors.”

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