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Coach Bell gets ASHOF award while battling cancer

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Coach Bell

The last year has been an emotional roller-coaster for Wenonah girls basketball coach Emanuel Bell.

Doctors diagnosed Bell with lung cancer last fall, and he coached through the treatments and led the Dragons to a fourth straight AHSAA Class 5A championship – thanks to a last-minute rally in the state final against Charles Henderson. Now, he’s being honored with a special award from the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Bell is the newest recipient of the Frank “Pig” House Award, which goes to “someone that the Hall of Fame considers has performed outstanding service to sports in Alabama and the Board of Directors feels is worthy of special recognition,” according to an ASHOF news release.

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Bell hasn’t let cancer slow him down. He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic last month. When asked about his health, he flashed a wide grin and said, “I’m doing good.”

Bell will be honored during the 49th Alabama Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet on Saturday, May 13, in Birmingham.

Bell graduated from Wenonah in 1973 and has served as the basketball coach at his alma mater for the last 20 years. He’s compiled a record of 485-178, making eight trips to the state semifinals and winning five state titles. He has garnered numerous Coach of the Year awards from the Birmingham Tip-Off Club, Birmingham City Schools and Alabama Sports Writers Association.

The Frank “Pig” House Award is named after the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s First Chairman of the Board who was instrumental in the founding of the Hall of Fame. Former recipients include legendary Vestavia Hills baseball coach Sammy Dunn, longtime Samford professor Avalee Willoughby and Vestavia Hills’ Buddy Anderson, the AHSAA’s all-time winningest football coach. Complete article

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