Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Taylor H.A. Bell  

Pen Name: Taylor Bell

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1940 in Blue Island, Illinois

-- Taylor H. A Bell on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Taylor was born in Blue Island, Illinois and currently resides in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Bell covered high school and professional sports in Illinois for more than forty years, mostly for the ''Chicago Daily News'' and the ''Chicago Sun-Times''. He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1971 and received the IBCA’s ''Buzzy O’Connor Award'' for contributions to the game in 2002. He was also inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.The long and exciting history of high school basketball in Illinois is the subject of Taylor Bell's highly praised book ''Sweet Charlie, Dike, Cazzie and Bobby Joe''. This is the first comprehensive history of high school basketball in the state, written by a reporter who is a lifelong fan and authority on high school basketball for more than 40 years. The book is titled for four players who reflet the unique quality of highschool basketball and whose first names are enough to trigger memories in fans who love the sport - Sweet Charlie Brown, Dike Eddleman, Cazzie Russell and Bobby Joe Mason.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Sweet Charlie, Dike, Cazzie, and Bobby Joe: HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL IN ILLINOIS
ISBN: 0252029488

University of Illinois Press. 2004

In urban and rural high schools throughout Illinois, basketball is a Friday night ritual. Local games are often the biggest thing happening all week, and the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and state tournaments attract fanatical fans by the thousands.

Far from the jaded professionals, the stories in Taylor Bell's Sweet Charlie, Dike, Cazzie, and Bobby Joe are of hungry young men playing their hearts out, where high-tops and high hopes inspire "hoop dreams" from Peoria to Pinckneyville, and Champaign to Chicago. Bell, a life-long fan and authority on high school basketball in Illinois, brings together for the first time the stories of the great players, teams, and coaches from the 1940s through the 1990s.

The book is titled for four players who reflect the unique quality of high school basketball, and whose first names are enough to trigger memories in fans who love the sport -- Sweet Charlie Brown, Dike Eddleman, Cazzie Russell, and Bobby Joe Mason. Bell offers exciting accounts of their exploits, told with a journalistic flair.

Beyond a lifetime spent covering the sport, Bell's research includes three hundred and fifty personal interviews with coaches, administrators, family members, and fans. He has attended the Elite Eight finals of every boys' state basketball tournament since 1958, and met and written about many of the most outstanding teams, coaches, and players who helped to make Illinois one of the most exciting arenas for high school basketball in the United States. Sixty photographs add depth to the accounts.

By a fan, for the fans, Sweet Charlie, Dike, Cazzie, and Bobby Joe is the authoritative book on high school basketball in Illinois, and will elate anyone who has thrilled to the poignant highs and shattering lows of high school sports.

Glory Days: Legends of Illinois High School Basketball
ISBN: 158261945X

Sports Publishing LLC. 2006

Along the way, somebody invented the jump shot and the crossover dribble and added a three-point line. Times changed, the game was integrated, players grew taller and more wildly athletic. That evolution is chronicled in Glory Days, as 50 of the state's best high school basketball players from the past five decades sit down to chat with longtime prep basketball scribe Taylor Bell. Every last one of the featured players was an all-state selection. Some led their teams to state titles others were chosen as Illinois' Mr. Basketball many were named McDonald's All-Americans.Glory Days pulls its roster from all regions of the state: from southern Illinois (Edwardsville, Centralia, Mount Vernon) to the state's waist (Galesburg, Peoria, Decatur) to north of I-80 (Rockford, Evanston, and many Chicago schools).Each player on the roster relives his time on the high school hardwood, but also reveals what happened after he walked down the aisle in his cap and gown.

Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right: High School Football in Illinois
ISBN: 0252077318

University of Illinois Press. 2010

From small towns like Metamora, Aledo, and Carthage to East St. Louis and Chicago's South Side, Illinois's high school football fields have been the proving ground for such future stars as Dick Butkus, Red Grange, and Otto Graham. In Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right, longtime fan and sportswriter Taylor Bell shares the stories of the greatest players, toughest coaches, most memorable games, and fiercest rivalries in Illinois history. Drawing on dozens of personal interviews, Bell profiles memorable figures such as Tuscola's record-setting quarterback Dusty Burk, Pittsfield's brutally demanding yet devoted Coach Donald "Deek" Pollard, and Evanston's Murney "Mr. Do-Right" Lazier, who coached sternly but without prejudice in the racially charged 1960s and '70s. The book also discusses winning programs at schools such as East St. Louis, Mount Carmel, and Joliet Catholic, as well as longstanding rivalries and memorable games in the state playoff and Prep Bowl.
The ultimate book for high school football fans in Illinois, Dusty, Deek, and Mr. Do-Right is infused with Bell's own love for the game and illustrated with sixty photographs of the players and coaches who made lifetime memories under the Friday night lights.


  • Received the Ring Lardner Award for excellence in print journalism in 2005

  • Taylor was honored at the 2005 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)