Flo Bell, head coach, Catonsville Seton Keough (Md.)

One in an occasional series.

By Al Mattei


There are many people who have made lacrosse a passion in the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor.

One of the best, however, was Florence "Flo" Bell.

Bell, who coached field hockey, lacrosse and basketball at nine area schools and helped generations of players earn scholarships and places on U.S. national teams, died April 26, 2000, right in the midst of one of the better seasons that Baltimore Seton Keough (Md.) had in a while.

Her death came a scant two weeks before the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's Class "B" playoffs would begin. It was sudden enough that the Gators didn't sport armbands on their uniforms the day they played for the division championship at Towson University.

But Bell was well-remembered on the sidelines.

"I remember the little rituals before every game, and she would always give us candy before the games," says Kristen Sokol, Gators' co-captain. "She brought a lot of spirit to our team."

Bell was more than just a lacrosse coach. She got involved in all manner of women's athletics, from coaching to umpiring, from community college to middle school, from tennis to basketball to swimming to water aerobics.

In these days of specialized coaching, where coaches are sometimes forbidden to coach more than one sport at a particular institution, Bell was an uber-coach.

"I like them all, so I have tried them all," she told The Baltimore Sun. "You stay employed, too."

And all because Bell complained to the principal of the St. Agnes parochial school in Catonsville, Md. about the lack of a physical education curriculum.

"Well, I need someone to start a program," the principal told her. "How about you?"

Recalling the exchange years later, she told The Sun: "I opened my mouth, and here we are today.

The todays are no longer here for the woman they simply call "Mrs. Bell." But her legacy has lived on.