According to reports originally from Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, Florida State Offensive Coordinator Walt Bell is departing the program. Bell will join UMass:
FSU OC Walt Bell will Be next UMass coach, sources tell @YahooSports.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 3, 2018
Bell apparently agreed to a 5-year, $625,000 annual deal that includes a 25,000 annual retention bonus. Bell, 34 will be one of the youngest head coaches in the FBS for the 2019 season.
Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell will be the next UMass head coach, a person with direct knowledge of the situation tells @TheAthleticCFB. 5-year deal, $625,000/year. https://t.co/X137DQoDqr— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 3, 2018
While the opportunity to move up in ranks is enticing, Bell left Florida State and took a pay cut for the UMass gig. Bell was making $700,000 annually at FSU.
Bell spent just one year in Tallahassee, splitting time as the play-caller with Head Coach Willie Taggart before taking over play-calling duties full-time for the final stretch of the season.
Bell’s offense sputtered due to an offensive line that was snake bitten with injuries, decimating an already beleaguered group. His quarterback group consisted of the mercurial Deondre Francois, who didn’t show significant improvement throughout the season.
The 2018 season, however, isn’t a great indicator of Bell’s ability as an offensive coordinator given the roster and injury constraints. The coming seasons would’ve been more telling.
Taggart will no longer get a chance to see how this pans out, as Bell is gone. The timing, two weeks before the Early Signing Period, is difficult. FSU QB recruit Sam Howell has a very strong relationship with Bell. It remains to be seen how this’ll impact the FSU program in the short and long-term.
UPDATE: It’s official: