Class of 1972
Among the sporting legends of the school is the second of four brothers, Olympian and World Cup winner on the hockey field David Bell. He describes himself modestly as academically “sound” (good enough for a Commonwealth Scholarship), “but not stellar”.
Although he captained both the Cricket and the Hockey teams in his last year at Aquinas in 1972, it wasn’t until after a few more years playing at club level that he finally made the choice between cricket and hockey. As Captain of the Australian Under 19 team, he could easily have continued to play cricket for Australia.
However, he picked hockey, playing at state level and then selected for the Australian championships. His talent on the hockey field defined his career. Blessed with ambition and ability he entered into the national arena on a World Cup cycle, playing in four: Kuala Lumpur (1975), Buenos Aires (1978), Mumbai (1982) and captaining the team that won in London in 1986. He also played in two Olympics: Montreal in 1976 (won Silver) and Los Angeles in 1984. (It would have been three had Australia not boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics).
His Olympic Silver medal is not on display in a glass case so much as lying in a shoebox in the pantry. Like many highly talented Aquinians, he gets in, does the job and is not showy about it.
After winning on the hockey field, unsurprisingly, David has been in high demand globally as a coach. He led the Australian Women’s team to Athens in 2004 and in 2016 took the Indian Women’s team to Rio. He trained as a Physical Education teacher post World Cup but returned to Aquinas to coach hockey in 2014 and 2015.
Looking back still fit and enjoying an ongoing relationship with his sport, he has two observations to make: “You can teach people from experience and share it, but you can’t give the answers – people have to find their own answers”.
He attributes the breadth of education he received at Aquinas to the Brothers and a proud moment for him was over-hearing his son saying: “The best thing my Dad did for me was send me to Aquinas”.