Becky Bell began her career at The University of Arizona in 1985 as the Head Women’s tennis coach. Twelve years at the helm resulted in five top-10 finishes, two Regional Coach of the Year awards, a Final Four team (1993), as well as a National Champion Doubles team (all firsts in Arizona tennis history). The 1996 team was ranked as high as #3, finished at #5, and boasted the #1 player in the country. Arizona was recognized as the 7th best team nationally (averaged) in the last seven years of her coaching career. Before coming to Arizona, Bell was the assistant coach at UCLA for five years, including a National Championship in 1981. In all, she has been part of 5 Final Four teams, 14 top ten teams, as well as other individual singles and doubles national championships and dozens of All Americans. She also served as an Assistant Coach for the USTA National Team for many years. As a player, Bell was an All-American at UCLA, 2-year team captain, MVP in 1980 and a member of the elite National Team (Junior Federation Cup). Bell hails from Riverside, California where she attended Poly High School and played on the boy’s tennis team all 3 years, winning MVP honors and the Bob Vanderzyl Sportsmanship award in her junior and senior years, respectively.
Bell is currently an Associate Athletics Director and has directed the Edward T. Bell Jr. C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program since 1997. The program is named in honor of her father, a 3-sport athlete at Millsaps College and member of their Hall of Fame. Becky raised the funds to be able to name it after him and it is the thing of which she is most proud. The C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program has played a big part in a record setting and national leading 4 NCAA Women of the Year as well as 5 finalists (top 3 in the country). Arizona leads all Pac-12 Schools for the most Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards as well.
Bell is the creator and founder of the national award winning (2009 NASPA Gold) Step UP! Bystander Intervention program (www.stepupprogram.org) being used by more than 1,000 schools and organizations. She has been recognized with two Visionary Leadership Awards - the 2009 individual award from the UA’s Commission on the Status of Women for her work on Step UP! and the 2018 Peter Likins award for Inclusive Excellence (the only UA campus recipient) given to the C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program for their diversity and inclusion efforts.
She earned her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from UCLA and was a member of the JV Basketball team her 5th year. She has earned two Master’s degrees — one in Sports Administration and one in Counseling (with an emphasis in Career counseling). She has made many national presentations and authored the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now. Bell served on the 1A Athletics Director’s Association CHAMPS Board of Advisors for eight years. She was inducted into the Riverside (California) Sport Hall of Fame in May 2019.
Source: University of Arizona Athletics
Horizontal leadership and loyalty is where you think you’re being loyal to those that have a similar rank as you.
Vertical leadership and loyalty is when you’re loyal to something bigger than yourself. It’s personal and you’re committed to a purpose, cause, mission, or standard that everybody agrees on. That’s the standard! That’s what you’re going to be held accountable to. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We all deal with a continuum. When I’m on recruiting visits, I can tell who’s going to be knocking on my door the first day they’re on campus. Those are the upper 10%-20%. You know they’re going to get involved. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
You might quite honestly have some students on the end of the spectrum where, no matter how hard you try, they’re just not going to get it or understand necessarily. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
It’s the middle group who you’re really trying to move towards the positive end. That’s what we really try to do. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
You’re dealing with people who come from different backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences who may not have had the opportunity or the support. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Students may not have that understanding as far as what getting involved means for their future because most people are concerned with right now and what’s in it for me? They may not necessarily think of the long-term. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Those student athletes that get involved have more opportunities later in whatever they choose to do. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
If I could look back, I would have been a little bit more involved with my school. We didn’t necessarily have the opportunities to join life skills programs back then like student-athletes have now. If I had had those opportunities, I certainly would have tried to take advantage of them because it’s just a win-win. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I encouraged a student who initially didn’t want to go to an event on campus. It turns out she met someone who helped her with law school – you don’t always understand and it doesn’t mean something is always going to happen, but you never know. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
You never know how one person, moment, or decision can impact your life. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
When you get to a university, that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to help, support, encourage, guide, make those connections, and help you meet people because you never know what one moment or decision could lead to. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I had a student athlete who was unsure about accepting a Nike internship because she wasn’t sure if she was qualified and the deadline was approaching in two days. I encouraged her to just try and, long story short, she got the internship which led to a full-time job. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
My student athlete was able to get her full-time job with Nike because she said, "Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll just apply. You never know."
Brilliant minds, kind souls, and lifetime friendships is really what Poly is to me to this day. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I’ve really been in the right place at the right time. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
No matter the sport, coaching is a 24/7 gig. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Athletics is a microcosm of life. We really are trying to develop our student athletes as people. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
The more that students develop as people, the better they perform as athletes. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We created something five years ago at the University of Arizona called the Wildcat Way. We’ve got five core principles: Being engaged, being versatile, being respectful, being innovative, and it’s being committed. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We’re saying you are all of those things as an athlete, but let’s see if we can be all of those things in every aspect of your life – especially during the time we’re in. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I think student athletes are honestly and uniquely qualified to deal with these times because athletes are used to and look forward to challenges. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Student athletes want to meet challenges and are certainly in a challenging time. They’re resilient and adaptable, and we certainly need to be that now. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I think it’s very applicable for us to look at our pillars and core values, and apply that to the times we’re in. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Really develop your student athletes as people and have a core sense of self. A lot of student athletes only identity as athletes, but the more you develop as a person and the other things you have in your life, then athletics is not so all-consuming. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
As a coach, be informed, have the courage, and stay true to yourself and your core values. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Be willing to be that role mode, lead by example, and be that vocal leader when and if it's called for. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Most importantly, lead the right way. I call this the Law of Delivery – some people have the title of being a leader but they’re not really good leaders. There are those that may not be called a team captain but they are the ones that others look to. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Coaching and leading is doing the right thing regardless of the situation. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Leadership and core values should not be situational, they should be non-negotiable. This is hard for all of us! @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Leadership is not something just for a specific type of person. It’s hard for all of us to confront a colleague, friend, peer, or teammate, but you have to stick to what’s right. @AZATHLETICS @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit