Langston University's head softball coach, Hosea Bell, died on Friday, according to university officials. Bell was 57 when he died.
Bell was head coach at Langston for eight seasons and took over the softball program during the 2013-14 season.
"On behalf of the Langston University Department of Athletics, I would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family, student athletes, friends and coaching colleagues of Head Softball Coach, Hosea Bell," Langston University Director of Athletics Donnita Rogers said in a statement. "Your laughter, kindness and lighthearted banter will be forever missed. Our lives are forever changed for having known you."
News 9 spoke with Langston softball players, coworkers and friends about what they will miss the most about Bell.
Members of the community said softball was everything to him.
“The way he would come to practice, he would bring the light in a room,” said Nykia Hines, Langston University athletics graduate assistant and former player for the Langston Lady Lions. “If you had a bad day and you saw Coach Bell, he would make their day turn around because that’s just the type of person he is.”
Bell helped create the National HBCU Softball Classic, now called the Red Dirt Classic, which is held annually at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The tournament hosts 13 colleges and universities from across the country. Langston is preparing to name the Red Dirt Classic after Bell in the near future.
But beyond softball, those who knew him said Bell cared about people.
“He was like a big brother,” said Fachiatte Kinslow, assistant director of athletics. “I would go to his office to talk to him, and he would always give me some godly advice.”
Rogers told News 9 than his student athletes were an extended part of his family.
“I feel like I told 30 students that their dad passed. Just that kind of impact; he was their father away from home,” Rogers said.
Bell is survived by his wife, nine children and a grandchild.
The Langston community will be holding a Celebration of Life for Bell at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday. It will take place at the T.G. Green Park Softball Field in Langston.
Click here to learn how you can donate to his family.
The Langston University Athletics Department is also accepting donations.