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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Bell retires, Berus to take over as AD

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  • After a year that will be remembered as one of the best in Plainview athletic history, athletic director Johnni Bell decided it would be her last.
    Bell, who served as athletic director for two years and presided over numerous state championships in that span, was announced to be resigning from her post in a school board meeting on Wednesday.
    "I can not and will not take credit for it, but it is awesome to end my career getting to watch what these teams achieved in a very successful year, both academically and athletically," Bell said. "I certainly appreciate how supportive the community, our athletes and our school in general has been.
    "It's a unique community and a very awesome place."
    Chris Berus, who will be entering his fourth year as head coach of the Indians football team, will replace Bell in the position.
    "He is a very positive role model, a very organized, competent gentleman who is very good with people," Bell said. "He deals with everything very professionally and is a very good decision maker."
    Berus embraced the opportunity, calling it "a chance to serve" and hoping to continue the program's excellent all-around results.
    "I'm not here to improve anything ... if it's not broke, don't fix it," Berus said. "I'm here to serve to the best of my ability and will continue to support and help those programs to be as successful as they possibly can."
    Bell stated that the reason for her departure from athletics after a 33-year run of service simply came down to the opportunity to spend time with the family that has supported her for her entire career.
    "Basically, I wanted to be able to spend time with my children, my grandchildren, to watch my son as he coaches," Bell said. "I wanted to be able to be there in case my parents, or my husband's parents, needed help.
    "My family has let their world revolve around mine, so it was time for me to revolve around theirs."
    Still, Bell has admitted she isn't ready to entirely step away; she will still serve as assistant principal and will remain an ardent supporter of the Plainview program.
    "I'll miss the pace and it will take me a while to get used to gearing back a little," Bell said. "I'll still be there, because you can't totally change who you are."
    As for Berus, he said he looks forward to eagerly taking on his new role to the best of his abilities.
    "The opportunity to inspire, motivate, to make a difference has now gotten wider for me," Berus said. "Our athletic programs are very successful, and to be able to serve and work in that capacity is something that excites and I intrinsically like to do.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I look forward to sitting down with all of our coaches and getting to know all of them on an extremely personal level to increase that rapport."
    Follow White on Twitter: @swhiteARD

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