TAMPA, Fla. – University of Tampa Spartans left-fielder Zion Bell has big shoes to fill, and he couldn’t be happier trying.
Bell is in his senior year, and second season with the team, hitting .238, with one home run, five RBIs, and has scored eight runs in 16 games played.
Bell’s father, Bobby Bell, played in the minor leagues for the California Angels organization in the 1980s and then got in to coaching after his short-lived professional career. Bell did coach his son, but he did not play favourites.
“He always coached competitively,” Zion Bell said. “He coached the Cooperstown team I played with. Before we left for the Cooperstown trip he actually cut me. My own father cut me and that definitely taught me a lesson.”
Bobby Bell, was a great role model for his son. Currently involved with the Marlins organization as a hitting coach, Bell hangs up the whistle and just lets his son play.
“He mostly just watches and lets me do me,” the left-fielder said. “He’s coaching on the inside, you can tell he’s working it in his mind, but he lets me just go.”
The Spartans senior appreciates the impact and remembers what his dad taught him as a young player.
“Everything,” said Zion Bell. “Watching my dad coach as I was growing up was amazing.”
Seeing his father doing what he loved clearly influenced Zion’s path and career goals. Their father-son relationship is strong.
“Just gave me the opportunity because this is what I would love to do,” the 22 year-old said. “He’s had a huge impact and really taught me everything I know.”
Another significant role model in Bell’s life is current coach Joe Urso. He is proud of what Zion is bringing to the team in his final season.
“He’s done a great job and he’s a great defensive left-fielder,” Coach Urso said. “That’s why he’s starting in most of the games right now.”