POSITION Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach
Walt Bell joins the Seminoles after two seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Maryland. Considered one of the most dynamic young offensive minds in college football, Bell has four years of offensive coordinator experience and has also coached at North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss and Memphis.
“This is one of the premier jobs in all of college football,” Coach Bell said. “With the incredible athletes on our roster, the ability to recruit nationally and Coach Taggart’s expertise, we are set up for success as an offense and as a program. I am incredibly excited to be here and be part of the tradition at FSU.”
In 2017, Bell oversaw an offense that started four different quarterbacks due to injuries and was one of two teams in the country to win at least three games with three different starting quarterbacks. Even with so much instability at the quarterback position, the Terrapins only threw eight interceptions and tied a program record for fewest turnovers with 14, a number that ranked 19th in FBS. Maryland opened the season with a 51-41 victory at No. 23 Texas, breaking the school record for points in a game against a ranked opponent.
Bell’s offense featured Big Ten Receiver of the Year DJ Moore, who broke the single-season school record with 80 catches, a conference-high average of 6.7 per game, and led the Big Ten with 1,033 receiving yards while becoming the program’s third 1,000-yard receiver. Moore, who declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season, ended his career with a streak of 33 straight games with at least one reception.
In 2016, Bell made his mark on Maryland’s offense immediately as the Terrapins scored a program-record 173 points in the first four games of the season. Maryland rushed for 2,594 yards in 2016, ranking fourth in the Big Ten with an average of 199.5 yards per game, while scoring 26 touchdowns on the ground. The rushing yards total marked the program’s seventh 2,500-yard rushing season and first since 2003, while the rushing touchdowns were the most in College Park since 2007. Quarterback Perry Hills led the Big Ten in completion percentage and ranked second in the conference in passing efficiency.
Bell joined the Maryland staff after two seasons as offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas State. In his 26 games in charge of the offense, the Red Wolves recorded 11 games with more than 500 yards of total offense, 18 400-yard games and 24 300-yard games. The 2015 team ranked 12th in the country with an average of 40.0 points per game and had eight All-Sun Belt selections, including offensive linemen Jemar Clark and Colton Jackson and wide receiver J.D. McKissic on the first team.
In 2014, Arkansas State broke single-season school records with 6,194 yards of total offense, an average of 476.5 yards per game, 1,024 plays, 477 points and 65 touchdowns. The team ranked 18th in the country in scoring offense by averaging 36.7 points per game, 20th in total offense and 25th with an average of 216.4 rushing yards per game.
Bell spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina. During his time in Chapel Hill, he helped the offense break 35 school records. The 2013 team averaged 432.4 yards of total offense, including 277.4 yards per game through the air. In 2012, North Carolina won the ACC’s Coastal Division crown and ranked 14th in the nation with an average of 485.6 yards of total offense per game. As recruiting coordinator, he helped pull in two classes ranked in the top-five of the ACC.
Tight end Eric Ebron was a standout performer for the Tar Heels under Bell’s guidance, developing into the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ebron twice earned All-ACC acclaim and was a first-team All-American in 2013 after he piled up 973 receiving yards, the most by a tight end in ACC history. In 2012, Ebron tripled his output from the previous season and finished with 40 receptions for 625 yards.
Bell was at Southern Miss in 2010 and 2011, serving as the Golden Eagles’ offensive graduate assistant in 2010 before being promoted to wide receivers coach for the 2011 season. That 2011 team won the Conference USA title and the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl, finishing with a school-record 12 wins behind an offense that ranked 14th in the country in scoring and 17th in total offense. In 2010, the offense recorded a then-school-record 5,894 yards and broke the school record at the time with an average of 453.38 yards per game.
Prior to his time at Southern Miss, Bell spent the 2009 season as a quality control coach at Oklahoma State. That year, the Cowboys finished 9-4 and played in the Cotton Bowl. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Memphis in 2007 and 2008, helping the Tigers to back-to-back bowl appearances.
Bell, a native of Dickson, Tennessee, was a four-year letterman at Middle Tennessee State. He played wide receiver for the Blue Raiders and also earned two degrees, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and in 2006 with a master’s degree in sport management.