Tommy Bell

[10 JUL 1932 - D1 - 20560]

Times Herald-Record Article

Tommy's Facebook Page

1953 Army - Duke Video

1954 Army - Yale Video



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Tommy Bell
[Coaches Housing Plaque - APR 2016]



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[May 2015]



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Tommy Bell
[JUL 2011]



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Ryan - Eddins - Bell - Dienst - Bergen - Gottron - Tennant -
Newton [Newton's Roundaway Farm - SEP 1997]



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Ski Ordway - Tommy Bell and
Pat Uebel [1988]



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D-1 Firsties - 1st Row: Dienst - Jim Ryan - Eddins - Cooper - Bergen - Newton - Tebodo (CO) - Lathrop - 2nd Row: Tennant - Shaffer - Pirtle - 3rd Row: Bill Parks - Grubbs - Bliss - 4th Row: Gottron - Zaborowski - Trawick - 5th Row: Price - Bell



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[1953 Army Football Team]

4th row: 64 Shannon - 38 Chance - 84 Holleder - 68 Herdman - 85 Ordway - 74 Sullivan - 70 MeInick - 71 Glock - 10 Vann. 3rd row: Greer (Asst Mgr) - 81 Doremus - 63 Chesnauskas - 34 Uebel - 12 Mericle - 16 Hagan - 54 Lasley - 55 Farris - 33 Burd - Meador (Mgr). 2nd row: 46 Bell - 58 Zaborowski - 31 Wing - 11 Cody - 25 Wynn - 22 Zeigler - 65 Franklin - 37 Knierem - 66 Bruno. 1st row: 82 Lapchick - 62 Ziegler - 79 Krause - 83 Sisson - 60 Lunn (captain) - 87 Mischak - 52 Kramer - 30 Cockrell - 48 Attaya - 24 Schweikert



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1953 Army Football Team



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AF Officer - Dienst - Bell - Gottron
[Eglin AFB - 1953]



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Tommy Bell and Ted Perritt x55
[DEC 1951]



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2012 AOG Online Register Entry

Register Glossary



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Forgotten Army great relives football days


Historic rusher not yet in Army Hall of Fame

Tommy Bell was Army's first 1,000-yard rusher but isn't as well known as Heisman winners Glenn Davis, "Doc" Blanchard or Pete Dawkins. on the field in Michie Stadium at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Bell CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

Tommy Bell was Army's first 1,000-yard rusher but isn't as well known as Heisman winners Glenn Davis, "Doc" Blanchard or Pete Dawkins. on the field in Michie Stadium at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Bell CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record

Bell's Army rankings

Yards rushing (season): 1,020, 12th

Yards rushing (career): 1,754, 13th

Yards per carry (career): 6.7, third.

Yards per carry (season): 10.5, 1954, third

Rushing touchdowns (season) 12, 1954, eighth

100-yard rushing games (season) 6, 1954, 14th

By Sal Interdonato

Posted Jul. 17, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Tommy Bell walks his dog, Annie, every morning in Westchester, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati.

Every morning, West Point is the first thought on Bell's mind, 56 years after his graduation.

Bell loved West Point. He loved being a cadet. Most of all, Bell loved playing Army football. He was a kid from the Bronx, following in the footsteps of his heroes, Heisman Trophy winners Glenn Davis and Felix "Doc" Blanchard.

Nicknamed "The Locomotive," Bell, who played at 195 pounds, ran over and through defenders. Once Bell got his legs going, he was difficult to bring down. Bell became famous for taking Army's opening handoff and breaking off big gains, like a 61-yard jolt against Yale in 1954. Defenses knew Bell was getting the ball and they couldn't stop him.

"I just loved contact," said Bell, 79, as he walked West Point's Michie Stadium last week. "I didn't have great speed. But I had quickness."

Bell's memory was jogged last week as he made his first trip back to West Point in 12 years with 11 family members, including his wife, Betty, sons Bob and Mike and five grandchildren.

Bell recounted how Army legendary coach Earl "Red" Blaik asked him to go home his plebe year, return to West Point in 1951 and help led a team, which lost 37 players after a cheating scandal. He talked about playing for a demanding young running backs coach named Vince Lombardi. "It was always 120 percent," Bell said.

Bell spoke little of his accomplishments on the field.

Bell's name can get lost in Army football history. He played in an era between Davis and Blanchard and 1958 Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.

Poll any die-hard college football fan and ask, "Who had the first 1,000-yard rushing season in academy history?" The answers would likely be Davis, Blanchard or Dawkins.

Wrong.

It was Tommy Bell in 1954.

Bell rushed for 1,020 yards, third in country behind Arizona's Art Luppino and Penn State's Lenny Moore. Maybe the most incredible stat is Bell's 96 carries that season. Bell is one of only two in Army history to average more than 10 yards per carry (10.6) in a season. Davis averaged 11.5 in 1944 and 1945.

"He didn't get the recognition that he deserved," said teammate Bill Cody, a reserve quarterback on the 1954 team. "He didn't know anything but trying and trying hard. He believed the coach knew what was right. He was always a little unsure of where he stood with the coaches. His teammates knew he was a great football player."

So did the country: Bell was named a 1954 all-American back.

Bell's next honor? Hopefully, election into the Army Sports Hall of Fame.

"You look at all of his stats and read through them, it's hard to believe that he doesn't belong there," said Joe Franklin, Bell's teammate and former Commandant of Cadets at West Point.

Bob Bell created a Facebook page, "Tommy Bell 1954 Army Halfback All America," calling his father, "the forgotten all-American."

"This is my quest for my dad to get recognized in the Army Hall of Fame," Bob Bell said.

Bob Beretta, Army's senior associate athletic director and chairman of Hall of Fame selection committee, said Bell's name has been on the ballot the last few years. The Hall of Fame strives to keep a balance in sport, ethnicity, gender and era in its members, Beretta said.

"He's a strong candidate and will get strong consideration," Beretta said. "Ultimately, those deserving get in. He's deserving, and eventually he'll get in."

Army's 2011 Hall of Fame class has been picked. Bell understands his son's urgency, but he remains as modest as his playing days.

"It doesn't matter to me," Tommy Bell said. I know what I did and I'm happy with that ... I'm happy to have been here. I loved the game. West Point was the best place for me."

Bell and his family enjoyed a tour of West Point's athletic facilities on their visit. The tour guide was Col. Sam Johnson, West Point's Chief of Staff. Johnson's father, Charlie, graduated in Bell's 1955 class.

Bell's grandchildren received Army footballs and Johnson asked Bell to autograph three footballs, one which may be placed in the Sports Hall of Fame.

"You made my day," Bell told Johnson. "I haven't done this in a long time."

For one day, Bell had a moment back at West Point. Another big day could be in his future.

Sal Interdonato
sinterdonato@th-record.com
17 July 2011


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