UMass names Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell its next head football coach

  • Florida State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Walt Bell, left, answers a question during an NCAA college football media day Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) Phil Sears—AP

  • Florida State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Walt Bell answers questions during an NCAA college football media day Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) Phil Sears—AP

  • Florida State Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Walt Bell answers a question during the NCAA college football media day Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) Phil Sears—AP

  • Florida State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Walt Bell answers questions during the NCAA college football media day Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) Phil Sears—AP

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2018 6:35:31 PM

AMHERST — UMass officially announced Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell as its next football coach Monday.

The announcement comes a little less than two weeks after Mark Whipple stepped down as football coach after five seasons. According to reports, the contract will pay Bell $625,000 per year over five years, a slight paycut from the $700,000 per year he made on his Florida State contract.

The 34-year-old will be introduced as the 30th coach of the Minutemen at a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“I am immensely excited for the opportunity to serve as the University of Massachusetts football head coach, and for my wife, Maria, and I to join the UMass family,” Bell said in a news release. “I cannot thank (athletic director) Ryan Bamford, Chancellor (Kumble R.) Subbaswamy and the entire university administration enough for the opportunity to guide this program. I look forward to getting right to work with the young men on our team.”

Bell, 34, becomes the second youngest coach at the FBS level behind Kent State’s Sean Lewis, 31. Bell has no inherent ties to the Northeast.

Prior to his one season at Florida State, he spent two years as the offensive coordinator at Maryland preceded by two years as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State. He played wide receiver from 2003-06 at Middle Tennessee State before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Memphis.

However, Bell’s reputation as a strong recruiter sat well with Bamford. In a statement as part of the news release, Bamford mentioned Bell’s strength in recruiting as a major selling point in the interview process.

“Walt is a fantastic coach who has tremendous credentials as an offensive coordinator, recruiter and developer of talent,” Bamford said. “It is Walt’s genuine interest in supporting the personal growth of his student-athletes, evidenced by his lasting relationships as a mentor and leader the last 10 years – that really resonated with us. He is a teacher, a motivator and an ambassador and we are fortunate to have him lead our Minutemen in to the future.”

UMass begins the 2019 season on Aug. 31 at Rutgers.




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