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Shonn Bell comes back home as new football coach at Waynesboro High School

Chris Graham
shonn bell
Photo: Waynesboro Schools

A Waynesboro native who made it to the NFL in 1999 is coming back home to take over as the head football coach at Waynesboro High School.

The school system announced the hiring of Jamara “Shonn” Bell on Thursday.

Bell, 49, was born in Waynesboro, played most of his high-school football career in Germany when his father was stationed there in the military, before returning to the local area for his senior season at Stuarts Draft High School.

From there, he played at Clinch Valley College, now the University of Virginia at Wise, where he was an NAIA All-American at tight end, before a brief NFL career that saw him get on the field in 1999 with the San Francisco 49ers.

Bell also spent several seasons in arena and indoor football before moving into coaching.

“Coach Bell will be a great asset for WHS and Waynesboro Public Schools,” said Jake Peeling, the athletics and activities director at Waynesboro High School. “He is someone I think can inspire our athletes to greatness, instill discipline, and foster a culture of teamwork and resilience. He is not just a football coach but someone who possesses the ability to cultivate character, both on and off the field.”

Bell replaces Brandon Jarvis, whose teams were 7-30 in his four seasons as head coach at WHS, though there was success in his second year on the job, in 2021, when Jarvis led the Little Giants to five wins and a playoff berth, the program’s first since 2017.

Waynesboro followed that up with a one-win season in 2022 and a winless 2023 season.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].