Former Harnett Central track and field athlete and coach, Ed Clark is now the senior wireless engineer for the U.S. Post Office.
“When I was a little kid, (Sam Bell) was my coach,” Clark said. “I hated him at the time.”
Clark said Bell trained his athletes as professionals, saying “He didn’t hold back.”
Though the rigorous workout regimen was challenging and painful for him then, when Clark got to college, “the workouts were the same.”
He said most of the other track athletes at UNC Chapel Hill weren’t as prepared as he was for that level of intensity. “It made me a much better person,” Clark said.
Now 53, Clark looked back and sees Bell as more than just a track coach, but as a life coach.
Clark said Bell’s turned around the lives of dozens of kids who were headed down the wrong path, by teaching them responsibility.
“He could have left 50 times, to make a real salary,” Clark said, “He stayed at Harnett Central because he was concerned about the kids.”
Bell was a positive male role model, who loved sports, but was more concerned on how his athletes would mature into productive adults.
“If he worked with a kid directly, that person improved,” Clark said. “I wish there were more mentors around like that.”