By Joe St. Henry
After 19 years as the varsity football head coach at Lake Orion High School, Chris Bell is stepping down from the position.
Bell was promoted to the role of the District Athletic Director on September 1 and, in this position, it is necessary that he step down as the head football coach.
Effective immediately, Bell is being replaced by John Blackstock, a 19-year assistant coach at Lake Orion. Blackstock has been with Bell throughout his coaching tenure with the Dragons.
In his position as Lake Orion’s head coach, Bell’s teams compiled an overall record of 149 wins and 59 losses (a winning percentage of over 72 percent).
In 19 seasons, his teams qualified for the state playoffs 16 times, won 7 league championships, 8 district championships, 4 regional championships, making 4 trips to the state semi-finals, 2 trips to the state finals, and won the state championship in 2010.
Following the 2010 season, Bell was named the Detroit Free Press and Detroit Lions Coach of the Year.
Bell played football for the Dragons in the 1980s and graduated from Lake Orion High School. He played collegiately at Albion College.
“Over the past 19 seasons, I have been blessed to work with so many outstanding families, players and coaches and I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish together,” Bell said.
“The entire community of Lake Orion has been so supportive of our program. My players were tough and hardworking young men who loved the game of football.
“I also have had some tremendous coaches for whom I am forever grateful, most notably longtime assistants Dave Tooley and John Blackstock, who were with me when we started here in 1998 and set the goals of winning championships at Lake Orion.
I am also grateful for the support of our entire school community from students, staff and district administration. Football at Lake Orion has been a team effort,” Bell said.
Blackstock was an all-state player at Bad Axe High School and went on to play defensive back at Central Michigan University.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Eastern Michigan University before joining Lake Orion as a varsity assistant coach.
John has been with Dragons for the past 19 seasons. He is a physical education teacher at Waldon Middle School in Lake Orion.
“I am very excited to be able to name John as our next varsity football coach,” Bell said.
“John has been a big part of our process and our success. His work ethic, his drive to succeed, his vision, and the way he coaches student-athletes the right way will ensure the continued success of the Lake Orion Dragon football program well into the future.”
By Joe St. Henry