Walt Bell fired as UMass head football coach

  • Walt Bell coached his final game for UMass on Saturday when the Minutemen lost 35-22 against Rhode Island at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • Walt Bell coached his final game for UMass on Saturday when the Minutemen lost 35-22 against Rhode Island at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass offensive line coach Alex Miller will take over as the Minutemen’s interim head coach after Walt Bell and defensive coordinator Tommy Restivo were fired after Saturday’s loss to Rhode Island. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • UMass offensive line coach Alex Miller will take over as the Minutemen’s interim head coach after Walt Bell and defensive coordinator Tommy Restivo were fired after Saturday’s loss to Rhode Island. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 11/7/2021 1:56:40 PM

Walt Bell’s tenure as UMass football coach ended after Saturday’s loss to FCS Rhode Island.

He and defensive coordinator Tommy Restivo were fired after the Minutemen lost 35-22 to the Rams on Homecoming. Bell, 37, accumulated a 2-23 record in three years at the helm. The Minutemen went nearly two calendar years between victories under Bell.

He was hired in December 2018 after one year as Florida State’s offensive coordinator. Restivo joined the staff in January 2019. 

Offensive line coach Alex Miller, a 2006 UMass graduate and former All-American lineman for the Minutemen, will take over as interim head coach. He was hired at UMass before this season following a decade at New Hampshire coaching the offensive line and coordinating the running game.

Bell signed a five-year contract when he was hired that was scheduled to pay him $625,000 per year. He was due a retention bonus of $25,000 on July 1, 2022, if he remained UMass’ coach. 

The university owes Bell a buyout of 100 percent of his total remaining compensation for Year 3 and 75-percent of the $625,000 ($468,750) due in each of the next two seasons for a total of $937,500.

A national search for UMass’ next head coach will begin immediately, according to a release. UMass Athletic Director Ryan Bamford and Miller will meet with the media for a press conference at 11 a.m. on Monday.


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