LaDontay Bell to Step Down as Football Coach at Chester High School, New Coach to be Named by January 2023
CHESTER, PA- December 1, 2022 - Chester Upland School District (CUSD) officials today announced that LaDontay Bell, head varsity football coach at Chester High School (CHS) will step down from his position with the team. Bell, who has been the head coach for the Chester Clippers varsity football team since 2016 will instead focus his efforts on building all district-wide sports programs in his role as Athletic Director.
Bell, a Washington D.C. native, and Cheyney University alum first began working with the Chester football program from 2010-2013 when he was hired as an assistant coach under Charles Crews. After briefly stepping away from high school sports to coach middle school teams, Bell returned to CHS in 2016 as the head coach. During the 2022/23 season he served dual roles as head varsity football coach and athletic director for CUSD.
In seven years, Bell turned the Clippers varsity football team into championship contenders, having amassed a 36-33 record during his tenure. 81% of the team's wins under Bell came during the last four seasons. From 2019 through the most recent season, the Clippers finished with an above-500 record, with 29 wins and only 12 losses.
“I wanted to bring structure to the program,” said Bell. “Chester has the talent, and I gained a greater passion to mentor youth during my years as a detention and probation officer. I’ve been fortunate enough to build a winning program with talented young men on the coaching staff and student-athletes that have bought into the program. We lead with structure and consistency. In seven years, I’ve never missed a practice or game.”
That consistency and structure have been significant for the varsity football team. Bell and his current coaching staff have helped the Clippers make program and school history. In 2020 the team was named the United 10 Champions and during the 2021/22 season, the Clippers earned a joint Del-Val League Champion title and secured the program’s first-ever playoff berth. Most recently, the Clippers won the Del Val League title outright, a feat the program hadn’t accomplished in 25 years, and secured the program’s second playoff berth and first playoff win in school history.
“Coach Bell and his coaching staff have done tremendous things with our football program and in our community,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Craig Parkinson. “District officials are confident that he will help to build other sports programs throughout the district in the same winning fashion that he has with the football team. He brings a level of dedication that inspires and encourages our student-athletes and we are happy to have him serve the district full-time as our Athletic Director.”
“I’m choosing to step down because it’s the right decision. It’s a selfless decision,” said Bell. “It’s difficult to be a head coach and an athletic director. I’ve spent the last few years working with my coaching staff to build them up to lead. I love football but it’s a vehicle to help people navigate where they want to be in life. I’m passing the baton, knowing that one of my guys can steer this ship to greater depths if given the opportunity.”
The process to search for a new varsity football coach is expected to start immediately as district officials plan to fill the vacancy by January 2023. Internal and external candidates will be considered.