ENC selects new men's soccer head coach
Eastern Nazarene College Director of Athletics Brad Zarges announced the hiring of Mark Bell as head men's soccer coach.
"It is truly incredible to consider the opportunity to add Mark to our staff," Zarges said. "His success over the years is impressive, but the ways in which he has developed and challenged his players to live out their faith is even more astounding. The impact he will have on our men's soccer program is much needed and will be very well received. We welcome Coach Bell to ENC and back to Boston and the South Shore!"
Jeff Kirksey, vice president of Student Development and Retention, expressed his excitement.
"We are pleased to welcome Mark Bell to the ENC community," he said. "Mark's rich collegiate coaching experience and history of utilizing soccer as a platform for ministry and student development will allow us to continue strengthening our efforts of preparing students for impactful lives on and off the field."
Bell joins the Lions after a 17-year stint as head men's soccer coach at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He led the Golden Eagles to three Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular season titles and two WHAC tournament championships.
Since Bell took the reins at Cornerstone in 1998, his program produced 30 all-conference players, 25 all-academic student-athletes, 21 Academic All-Americans, 13 NAIA All-America honorable mention selections, and one NAIA All-Region Player of the Year.
A five-time WHAC Coach of the Year and two-time WHAC Champions of Character Coach of the Year, Bell has also coached numerous players who went on to compete at the professional level, including one player drafted into Major League Soccer by the Colorado Rapids.
"I am humbled and honored to have been chosen by Dr. Brad Zarges, the search committee, and all those involved in the hiring process to lead the men's soccer program at Eastern Nazarene College," Bell said. "My family and I are delighted to be joining the Eastern Nazarene family and return to the Boston area. I'd like to thank the search committee for giving me this exciting opportunity. Everyone from President Dr. Corlis McGee, Dr. Linda Scott, Kellee Birnstiel, Jeff Kirksey, Marion Mason, and Keri Lewis, to the coaching staff, and to the players on the team made me feel welcome while I was on campus as well as showed me why Eastern Nazarene will be such a special place to work. I think it will be imperative that our program aligns with the mission of the college to develop men of character, scholarship, and leadership as we strive to advance God's Kingdom."
At Cornerstone, Bell implemented "Night of Nets" which raised more than $100,000 for the purchase of malaria prevention nets in Zambia. He also took groups of players on missions trips to Brazil, Ukraine, the Dominican Republic, and Zambia.
Prior to his arrival at Cornerstone, Bell served as an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and North Park College in Chicago, Illinois.
A native of Hanover, Massachusetts, Bell graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago after a four-year playing career at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He was a two-time All-Midwest Metropolitan Soccer Conference honoree and team captain for the Thunder. Bell went on to play professionally for Sparta ABA, based in Chicago, and LWFC/FC Bridges in Europe.
The Lions kick off the 2016 campaign September 1.