Meet Our Coaches
Head Football Coach and Director of Operations Dick Bell
Dick Bell’s background and accomplishments in football are numerous and outstanding. As a football player, as a football coach/recruiter and as a football executive, Dick has the reputation as “a person who makes things happen.”
Dick’s abilities on the field as either a player or coach have translated to successes in management as well. During a 14 year career that ended in 2000, Dick represented over 100 NFL players in their on and off field endeavors, including two first round draft picks and 6 time Pro Bowl linebacker Greg Lloyd of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dick, as General Manager of the Bay State Titans of the MLFS, was named The Executive of the Year in 1991 after the Titans led the league in attendance, players sent to the NFL, CFL or World League (21), as well as playing for the Conference championship. The Titans were coached by former New England Patriot player and current Atlanta Falcons Assistant, Ray "Sugar Bear" Hamilton.
Dick is also the Director of the Blue Chip Football Academies , events which are held each summer in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia for high school players. Now in its seventh year, with over 150 college coaches participating, it has been a resounding success for the hundreds of players that have gone on to play at the college level because of the contacts made there.
Dick has coached at all levels, and the one constant is success.
College – As linebacker coach for Division 1AA Tennessee-Chattanooga of the powerful Southern Conference, players under Dick’s tutelage earned either first or second team All Conference in each of his years there. The ability to recruit is what truly separated Dick from the crowd as he personally signed a staggering 70% of the recruiting classes during his tenure. With help from the players he signed, Chattanooga went from a losing to a winning program within two years.
High School – As the head coach of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dick guided a team that had a 1-32 record the previous three seasons to a 9-2 record in his first year. That turnaround was recognized in a state with over 300 schools as one of the greatest in history. Six of the players on that team went on to Division 1 or 1AA Programs and none had been recruited at all prior to Dick’s arrival.
Photo above shows Dick as Linebacker Coach at Chattanooga
A native of Massachusetts, Dick was the MVP of Dean Junior College in 1974 and went on to become a three time All Conference Player and All-American at the University of Rhode Island as a defensive end. Dick was also chosen to represent Team USA in the 1979 Can-Am Bowl Game which pitted the United States versus Canada in a nationally televised game. Dick started and helped the American squad to a resounding victory. After his college career ended, Dick was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later signed with the San Diego Chargers. Dick was inducted into the Dean Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.
Photo shows Dick (2nd from left, kneeling) during his playing days for
Contact Dick via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tommy Polley - Assistant Head Coach - Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers
It should come as no surprise, given the fact that Coach Polley has played the game of football at the highest level possible, that his arrival at ECP has made an already formidable coaching staff the best in the nation and the envy of similar programs. And because he has performed at such a high level during his tenure at ECP, Dick Bell has named him Assistant Head Coach and given him total responsibility for the defensive side of the ball.
As a former NFL defensive stalwart with great knowledge of the game, Coach Polley continues to provide ECP’s players with the highest possible level of preparation and instruction, as well as give them the best possible chance to advance to the next level in their development. A native of Baltimore and a graduate of Dunbar High School, Tommy Polley has had a meteoric career as both a player and a coach.
After leaving Dunbar, Tommy went on to an outstanding career at Florida State. While playing for the Seminoles, he was a two time All ACC selection and an All American in his senior year. He was also a finalist for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's most outstanding collegiate linebacker. All this led to his being drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Rams in the 2001 NFL draft.
After being named to the NFL All Rookie Team in 2002, he went on to complete six seasons in the NFL In 2003 he led the Rams in tackles and interceptions and before he retired in 2007, he racked up a career total of 304 tackles, 224 of which were solo stops.
After retiring from the NFL, he established the Tommy Polley Foundation, which concentrates on mentoring, developing life skills, and promoting football in Baltimore.
His love of the game has given him an impressive coaching resume. He has coached with USA Football, Nike, and Rivals, doing regional and developmental camps. He is very much looking forward to joining the ECP staff where he will have the opportunity to guide ECP's players through the recruiting process and use his knowledge and experience to raise their level of play on the field.
"I have absolute and total confidence in Coach Polley’s abilities. When it comes to defense, he knows how all the pieces fit together. I expect his expertise will be on full display when ECP takes the field for the 2019 season." –Dick Bell
Sol Southall - Academic Coordinator and Running Back Coach
West Texas native Sol Southall, comes to us after a successful stint as the Academic Coordinator at Earlham College. Under Coach Southall’s guidance, the Earlham football team boasted a 2.95 team GPA. and an 85% overall graduation rate. (At this time he was also serving as the Offensive Coordinator.)
Prior to Earlham College, Coach Southall served as the Offensive Coordinator at Sul Ross State University and Wide Receivers Coach at Hardin-Simmons University. The Hardin-Simmons University offense led the country, all divisions, in offense and led the country in virtually every receiving category.
Coach Southall was a 3-year starter at quarterback for Angelo State University and was the 8th highest rated passer in the country his final year, accounting for 15 TD’s with only 1 interception in 6 games before suffering a season ending knee injury.
While at Angelo State, Coach Southall was a double major in Business Administration and Pre-Dentistry and was even accepted to dental school prior to earning his bachelor’s degree. After ultimately deciding to not pursue a career in dentistry, Coach Southall finished his degree in Business Administration, graduating Summa Cum Laude at the top of his class with a perfect 4.0 G.P.A.
Coach Southall attended high school at San Angelo Central where he played for head coach Gary Gaines of "Friday Night Lights” fame.
Coach Southall is a third-generation football coach and has either played or coached for 4 different hall of fame football coaches. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge on how to be a successful college student-athlete and has a true passion for helping young men succeed in the classroom.
Dylan Potts - Quarterback and Wide Receiver Coach
Dylan Potts went 26 and 8 as the starting quarterback for River High School in Sardis, Ohio. Playing for Coach Mike Flannery, he was ranked sixth among Ohio high school quarterbacks by Ohio Varsity, and in the top 100 players in Ohio by Tom Lemming of Max Preps.
Earning a football scholarship to the University of Akron, Dylan started out as a quarterback during his freshman year, but soon made the transition to wide receiver during his sophomore campaign.
After his sophomore year, he elected to transfer to Division II West Liberty University to continue his career as a wide receiver. Starting 22 games during his Junior and Senior seasons, he finished with over 110 catches,1800 all-purpose yards, and 17 TD’s. In addition to these impressive stats, he was a two-time All-Mountain East Conference
selection and was also named a 2014 USA College Football All-American.
After college Dylan was signed to play in the German Football League for the Stuttgart Scorpions. Making the transition back to quarterback, he led the team to a 10 win season and into the German League Playoffs. After a successful campaign he was then signed to go play in the Austrian Football League. In 2017 he played for the Danube Dragons where he led the league in total yards, total TD’s, and rushing as a quarterback. In 2018, he played in the AFL for the Modling Rangers, where he had similar success, leading the league in rushing once again, as well as being in the top of every statistical offensive category. He was also voted as one the Top100 players in Europe by Podyum Recruit.
Having played both quarterback and wide receiver at a very high level, Dylan brings an enormous amount of experience and knowledge with him to ECP. And he's more than ready to start passing on his knowledge to the players he will soon meet at ECP.
"Dylan has had an outstanding playing career and I am excited about his transition to a coaching career with East Coast Prep. He has all the things I look for in a young coach and I am sure he will do a great job." ----Dick Bell
Rodney Mitchell - Offensive Line Coach
Coach Mitchell was the starting left tackle for D-1 Coastal Carolina University during its inaugural year in the FBS. Playing this key position, he was a big factor in establishing Coastal Carolina as a force in the FBS. Playing at the highest competitive level college football has to offer, he consistently showed he belonged.
While at Coastal, he helped his team win two conference championships and also played in the FCS playoffs three years out of five. In addition to his on field success, he also excelled academically, being named to both the Deans List and the Presidents List..
Coach Mitchell is very excited about beginning his coaching career at East Coast Prep. As the defensive line coach he plans to bring attitude, charisma, and knowledge to the players who will play under his direction. As a first year coach he also plans to rely heavily on Coach Polley for advice and guidance. In addition, he will be passing on the substantial knowledge he gained during his playing days.
In order to aid him in his transition to the coaching profession, Coach Mitchell has spent many hours as a collegiate athlete studying film, mentoring kids at camps, and also volunteering as an assistant coach at local middle schools. His love for the game, combined with his success both on and off the field, makes, Coach Mitchell a perfect candidate and example for our kids here at East Coach Prep.
Josh Wilson - Assistant Defensive Coach
One of our own is returning to coach at ECP. Coach Wilson was among that fine group of talented players who put ECP on the map during its inaugural season in 2013. His previous experience as a player will no doubt enable him to relate extremely well to ECP's incoming players.
Prior to his ECP experience, he attended high school in Illinois, where he played for 12 time state football champion Mount Carmel high school (Chicago) and the 7 time state football champion Wheaton Warrenville South high school. He also competed in track and field.,
He is a recent graduate of the University of Toledo where he earned his B.S. degree. Before graduating from Toledo, he played college football at Arizona Western College and Saginaw State Valley University. During the time he spent with those programs, he played tight end, outside linebacker, and defensive end before suffering a career ending foot injury.
Coach Wilson has a diverse background, and, having played on both sides of the ball, has also developed an extensive knowledge of the game. He is extremely excited about beginning his coaching career, and, given the deep experience of the ECP coaching staff, he knows he'll be in excellent company where everyone will be working together and striving for excellence.