Having undergone hip surgery last year and set for back surgery this summer, Gus Bell figured this might not be the best time for him to be pulling double duty.
So, on Saturday, Bell officially announced that he will step down as baseball coach at Coosa following this season and will focus exclusively on his responsibilities as head softball coach at Coosa.
Bell, who was named the school’s head softball coach last fall, said his wife, Judy, might benefit the most from his decision to trim down his obligations.
“She’s the one that has to listen to me moan and groan (after practices),” he said with a laugh.
Bell is currently in his 42nd season as a head baseball coach. His career includes a 21-year tenure at Darling-ton, along with head coaching jobs in South Carolina and Florida.
At Coosa, he has helped the Eagles emerge as a consistent force in Region 7-AA.
The Eagles have already clinched a state playoff berth this season after reaching the Class AA Sweet 16 last season.
“We’ve had a good run the past four years,” he said. “And it was great to make the playoffs this year. I am not sure there were a lot of people who thought we would.”
Bell said he reached his decision to resign from baseball while he was watching the Masters on TV last week.
“I realized I wasn’t going to be able to (do any physical activities, like playing golf) if I keep throwing batting practice every day,” he said.
Bell said he and his wife had discussed the possibility of him resigning from baseball “for the past couple years.”
He said he “still has the drive and the passion” for baseball,” but then jokingly added that he sometimes finds himself “hoping it rains so we don’t have to practice.”
Leaving baseball certainly won’t be easy for Bell, but the timing just seemed right, he said.
“Maybe I will be able to watch more (baseball) games now,” he said. “And I am looking forward to softball. This way, I can devote my time to one sport.”
Bell said he is excited about the challenges of coaching the Coosa softball program, which has posted just one victory in the past two seasons.
First, though, he is hoping his baseball team can finish strong in the regular season — they have two games remaining — and then make a run in the playoffs.