Bell replaced after 13 years as Demopolis coach

Published 8:39 pm Friday, May 27, 2011

Demopolis High School will have a new varsity basketball coach for the first time since 1998 after the DCS Board of Education approved a series of personnel moves that included the removal of veteran head coach Jesse Bell.

The long-time Demopolis High coach took over the program in the wake of Luke Hallmark’s departure, a tenure that lasted eight years. Patrick Plott, who just completed his first year as a football assistant and the DHS junior varsity basketball coach, will take over the program.

“Coach Bell had a great 13-year run,” Demopolis High School athletic director Tom Causey said. “We really appreciate all the time and effort he put into Demopolis High School basketball.”

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Bell’s team last reached sub-regional play in 2008 when Alabama A&M swing man Casey Cantey led the charge. Cantey, who inked a scholarship offer with the Bulldogs after the season, was also the last collegiate signee of Bell’s era.

“Coach Bell has some great strengths,” Causey said of the outgoing coach, who will remain with the system as a physical education teacher at Demopolis Middle School. “I think Coach Plott brings a different set of strengths to the gym.”

Plott earned positive reviews after his only season coaching the school’s junior varsity team. Like Causey, the administrators who made the decision are hopeful that success correlates to the varsity level.

“I think Patrick is a great young coach with high energy and great potential. We’re excited about the potential of Coach Plott,” Causey said. “I know the kids are excited about it.”

Bell could not be reached for comment. Plott declined to provide comment until he could speak with Bell personally, citing his desire to maintain a positive relationship with the Tigers’ long-time coach.