Hall of Fame Inductee: Charlie Bell, ’58
On January 26, 2013, AU will induct four new members to its Hall of Fame. Class of 2013 Inductee Charlie Bell, AU ’58, reflects on his time at Aurora and his career after graduation.
Describe your student experience at Aurora University.
I realized early on that I had to learn how to study and read much faster. We were blessed by a dedicated and caring faculty who modeled and instilled in us a love of learning as well as a closeknit student body. I personally benefited from a lot of hands-on help outside of class time.
Like the majority of students in our time here, I worked my way through college thanks to local industries who reached out generously to college students. Much of our social life revolved around church activities and mission projects both locally and in Chicago. I met my wife, Shirley, here and we were married after my sophomore year. She really made blue jeans look good!
What moments in your time as a student-athlete at Aurora University stand out most?
I just love to compete, and I was given the opportunity to do that in multiple sports. Coach Ray Rosenthal was a great mentor for me, and made me much tougher, especially mentally. I was also privileged to play alongside very gifted teammates who motivated me to work hard to improve.
My senior year, I had a 10-strikeout performance as a pitcher against the University of Chicago. But, the most memorable day was during my sophomore season of baseball, during a double header here on campus. I caught the first game with our Hall of Fame pitcher Dave Crosbie on the mound, and we won 3-2. Then, I pitched the second game, which we won 4-3.
Since graduation, what has been your proudest accomplishment?
I have had numerous athletes humble me by crediting me with greatly influencing their lives. Many have told me they look to me as a father. Others have become Christians and credited me with influencing them.
Near the top of my list was in 1976 when my football sophomores at Geneva High School started the season 0-4, but finished at 5-4. I have also been named coach of the week by the Arizona Cardinals and coach of the year by the league and the state of Arizona. I have coached student-athletes to 13 state individual championships in track and field and have been a part of two football state championships.
At the top of my list, after considerable thought, is how I have been blessed to maintain my zeal and energy levels on the focus of coaching student-athletes. My focus is still that next year will be my best yet.
What do you hope for the future of AU Athletics?
I am so very proud of what Aurora University Athletics has become. It is thrilling to see the number of athletes competing in so many programs, and I am proud of the facilities that have been provided.
My personal hope is that the doors of opportunities to participate remain open widely, welcoming every aspiring athlete to reach his or her potential as a Spartan, under the tutelage of excellent coaches.