Alumni Visit Mount Union Together for First Time in 50 Years

April 01, 2010


After forming a friendship on the athletic field while students at Mount Union College, Purple Raider football legends Napoleon Bell '51 and Vince Marotta '48 reunited on campus for the first time in more than 50 years.




Napoleon Bell and Vince Marotta

Napoleon Bell and Vince Marotta


The duo returned to campus Saturday, September 20 for the Mount Union football contest vs. Baldwin-Wallace College. Good friends during their time on campus, Bell and Marotta have both gone on to successful careers, including offers to play professional sports.

Bell was given an NFL offer with the Los Angeles Rams, but turned it down to attend law school at Case Western Reserve University. He practiced law in Columbus, Ohio for 45 years and now lives just outside Las Vegas, Nevada.

He won the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 1976 that recognizes former student-athletes who have distinguished themselves since completing their college careers 25 years ago.

"I've enjoyed my career since graduating Mount Union," Bell said, a history major while at the College, "and I certainly enjoyed my years here on campus and the friends I have established, like Vince."

Bell also offers advice for students graduating from the College. "There is a needed desire to achieve and willingness to go out there and work," Bell said. "I think those graduates today who are leaving Mount Union have a tremendous platform on which they can build."

Marotta also has enjoyed great success after graduating from the College with a history degree.

"I never thought in the wildest sense of my imagination that I would invent a coffeemaker," said Marotta, founder of Mr. Coffee. This unexpected turn in his life is a reason he said students should stay broad in their interests.

Observing that people often make career choices too early in their lives, he suggested that students not focus on that. "If you don't know and have a question mark in your mind," Marotta said, "get yourself a good liberal arts education and play loose."

Two professional sports teams signed Marotta, the St. Louis Cardinals for baseball and the Cleveland Browns for football. Just after signing with the Cardinals, Marotta was called to active military duty, with which he had previously enlisted.

While with the Browns, he said the coach wanted to trade him for being "too light" in weight and Marotta didn't want to leave and play somewhere else.

He was inducted in 1975 as a member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, which "honors the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity."

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