First year head coach El Dorado head coach Wes Bell looks to change the culture in not just the football team, but a community.

They often say the way the high school football team goes; the town’s morale goes. If that’s the case, the town of El Dorado hasn’t seen very many bright days in the last 20 years.

El Dorado hasn’t seen a winning season since 2000, you know when George W. Bush and Al Gore were arguing about who would be the hanging chad. The Wildcats were more like Wild-kitties going winless three times since 2006.

It’s not exactly the players fault. There’s been little to no consistency.

In the last 10 seasons, the football team has seen six different head coaches come through. The kind of turnover would decimate any level of football, especially high school.

Enter Wes Bell.

“We had a lot of really good candidates,” El Dorado Athletic Director Scott Vang said. “None really

blew us away like Wes did.”

The veteran savvy football coach, who’s never been

a head coach but rocks the confidence of the old ball coach, isn’t worry about the past but understands the future. He’s from Kansas, a small town at that. Being from Melvern, Kansas, just northeast of Emporia, Bell wants to do his best and mold the student- athletes into winners.

“I’m not stressed about what’s happened in the past,” new El Dorado head coach Wes Bell said. “I know there’s been a lot of turnover. That makes it hard on kids. I want to get there and teach these kids the process and what it takes. I want to teach them how to be better men and better players. The expectations will be different from me.”

After excelling at the Division II with the University of Central Missouri as their defensive coordinator, Bell made an abrupt pivot in the game of life.

“I sat down with my wife and realized what I was missing,” Bell said. “I made the decision I want to be a better husband and father.”

Enter El Dorado: It checks Bell’s boxes. It’s a one-school town that has an appetite savoring for a winning football program. It’s not far from his family, who reside in Wichita.

“It’s not about wins and losses,” Bell said. I’m a firm believer in treating kids the right way.”

Bell preaches being a good person first and foremost. It starts with the attitude and just being good people.

“If the football team is doing good, the basketball team is doing good and everyone is successful, the grades go up, the ACT scores go up and it trickle down,” Bell said.

It’s the baby steps but it appears to be working. In the annual back-to-school bash, the stands were full, and the bouncy castles had the kids happy.

“I used to tell parents when I was recruiting in college, the most important thing is when they leave me they are better men, husbands and fathers,” Bell said.

It’s quick to see El Dorado and Bell are drawn together like a bee the honeysuckle. There’s passion in his voice when he talks about the program and the town.

A win is a stake Friday night, but really, it’s the start of something more. Bell’s idea of a long-term goal in El Dorado is that building leaders of the community first and successful athletes second.

“As long as the kids and families buy into it,” Bell said. “The winning will take care of itself.”