By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Sports have always taken center stage in Aaron Bell’s life.
A Kansas City native, he’s in his second year as wide receivers coach at Missouri Western State University. A job that keeps him busy enough. He just finished securing the commitment of six new wideouts on National Signing Day.
Bell is also a father of four - three sons and a daughter. All varying ages. All gifted athletes.
His oldest son, Ronnie, is a rookie wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers - picked in the 7th round of the NFL Draft, 253rd overall, out of Michigan.
Bell made the 53-man roster, and finished the regular season with six catches - half of those were for touchdowns. Now, Ronnie and the 49ers get set to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Ronnie’s father, Aaron, will be in the stands, smiling and cheering, as any proud dad would.
"(Ronnie) motivated himself to make the team, first of all," Bell told KFEQ Radio. "To put himself in position to be drafted and then to sit back and learn and get better day-by-day. So, it was good to watch and hear from him on how he was doing, and knowing all of the hard work he put in paid off."
Last month, Aaron Bell saw one of his younger sons, Kendrick, win a national championship with Michigan when they defeated Washington in the college football title game in Houston.
Kendrick didn’t play as a true freshman, but Aaron was still happy for his son and the many Michigan players who had been teammates with both of his sons.
"A lot of those guys came in with Ronnie," Bell said. "His (Kendrick's) teammates, I actually know personally. Again, to see the hard work they put in, it was good to see it finally paid off. Then, to know some of the things they told me about Kendrick and all of the work he's put in, it's been fun to follow."
Aaron Bell’s office at the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex in St. Joseph is littered with pictures - many are of the receivers he coaches at Missouri Western.
Many more, though, are of his children. His third son, Kendrick’s twin brother Marqueas, plays Division I basketball at Southeast Missouri State.
His youngest, 11-year-old daughter Laila, is a budding basketball star herself.
Ask Missouri Western head football coach Tyler Fenwick, and he’ll tell you it’s the females in the Bell family who are the real stars. That includes Aaron’s wife Renee - a standout basketball player at Fort Scott Community College.
"We always joke around that his youngest one, 11-year-old daughter Laila is probably the best athlete of all of them," Fenwick grinned. "And we obviously joke around that, they're not getting their athleticism from him. It's from his wife."
Also hanging in Aaron Bell’s office is a framed 49ers jersey. No. 10. It's his son, Ronnie’s.
The date on the bottom of the frame is September 21, 2023. New York Giants at San Francisco.
The 49ers won 30-12. The first touchdown of that game was also the first of Ronnie's NFL career - a nine-yard grab to put the 9ers up 10-3.
The jersey Ronnie wore in that game, you might have guessed, is the one that hangs in his father's office. The white numbers on the front still bear some faint, brown scuff marks.
Bell raised his family in Kansas City. He works at the University where the Chiefs hold their summer training camp. Chiefs coaches will even borrow Bell’s office during that time.
"Imma have to take that jersey down when they come back, I know that," he laughed.
Still, Aaron will proudly root for the 49ers on Sunday. And he’ll root for Michigan. He’ll root for his sons. And his daughter. Wherever they're playing.
All while trying to help Missouri Western football reach the highest summit in Division II.
"I mean...it's another one," he said of the big game. "Unfortunately, it happened to be the Chiefs. I wanna have a national championship ring in the house, a Super Bowl ring in the house and I wanna have a Division II national championship ring in the house."
Aaron Bell interview
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.