|Other Position:||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach|
Walt Bell is in his second season as the offensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and quarterbacks coach for Arkansas State.
Bell’s first season with the Red Wolves saw them break the school records for total offense (6,194 yards), average yards total offense (476.5 yards per game), total plays (1,024), points scored (477) and touchdowns scored. His offensive unit ranked among the top 45 teams in the nation in seven statistical categories, including scoring offense (No. 18), total offense (No. 20), rushing offense (No. 25), first downs (No. 30), completion percentage (No. 36), team passing efficiency (No. 38) and passing offense (No. 39). Those results helped lead A-State to the GoDaddy Bowl for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year.
Under his direction, the Red Wolves recorded at least 300 yards in every game, over 400 in nine contests and at least 500 in five outings. A-State exploded for a school and Sun Belt Conference record 764 yards total offense in its regular-season finale against New Mexico State, which was also the seventh most in the nation for a single game.
Bell’s offensive unit produced a school-record-tying 25 touchdown passes and 35 rushing scores, the most ever as an FBS member and most at any level since 1987. The Red Wolves had three offensive players named All-Sun Belt Conference, including first team quarterback Fredi Knighten, and wide receiver Dijon Paschal was named to the league’s Newcomer Team as well.
Bell developed Knighten into the Sun Belt’s most prolific quarterback in his first year as a starter, and he cemented his place in school history as one of its top signal callers. Not only did the junior quarterback lead the league in numerous statistical categories, he also ranked No. 9 in the nation in points responsible for (218), No. 12 in total offense (312.0 ypg), No. 25 in passing yards (3,277), No. 27 in passing touchdowns (24), No. 29 in completions per game (20.7), No. 33 in completion percentage (.623) and No. 36 in passing efficiency (141.1).
Bell spent the last five seasons working with A-State head coach Blake Anderson on the coaching staffs at Arkansas State, Southern Miss and North Carolina, but his ties to the Red Wolves’ head coach date back to 2004 when he played wide receiver at Middle Tennessee and was tutored under Anderson as his position coach.
Bell, who has been a part of nine bowl games as either a coach or player, came to Arkansas State after spending the previous two seasons as North Carolina’s tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Bell was part of an offensive staff that helped North Carolina break over 35 school records, including total offense.
His time at North Carolina saw the Tar Heels claim 15 victories, including a 39-17 win over Cincinnati in the 2013 Belk Bowl. Bell was responsible for calling the offensive plays in North Carolina’s bowl game after Anderson had accepted the head coaching position at Arkansas State. North Carolina posted three offensive touchdowns and 345 yards in the contest, including 174 rushing and 171 passing yards.
Working alongside Anderson, Bell helped lead North Carolina to 432.4 total yards per game during the 2013 regular season. Coaching the tight ends position, he was part of a passing game that ranked 28th in the nation with an average of 277.4 yards per game. Bell also helped lead UNC to the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division title, the same year the Tar Heels ranked 14th nationally with 485.6 yards per game.
Under Bell’s tutelage, tight end Eric Ebron was a two-time All-ACC pick and named First Team All-America in 2013. Ebron recorded a game-high seven catches for 78 yards to finish the season with 973 receiving yards, the most by any tight end in ACC history. Bell’s initial season at UNC saw Ebron triple his output over the previous year, hauling in 40 receptions for 625 yards. In addition to Ebron, teammate Jack Tabb recorded 19 receptions for 263 yards and two touchdowns during Bell’s tenure as tight ends coach.
Bell also helped the Tar Heels build a pair of strong recruiting classes. The 2012 class ranked among the top five in the ACC despite a lack of available scholarships, and the 2013 class was among the top four in the conference.
Bell went to North Carolina after coaching wide receivers at Southern Miss. He was part of a Southern Miss offensive staff that helped the Golden Eagles establish school records for total offense with 6,459 yards in 2011. USM was 17th in the nation in total offense and 14th in scoring offense as the Golden Eagles had the best season in school history.
Southern Miss won the Conference USA championship over previously unbeaten Houston and then won its school-record 12th game of the year by beating Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. Bell’s wide receivers were a big reason for USM’s success. The top four receivers all had more than 30 receptions and accounted for 21 of the Golden Eagles’ 32 receiving touchdowns. Kelvin Bolden led the team with 58 catches for 671 yards and had seven touchdowns. Senior Ryan Ballentine led the team in yards (742) and touchdowns (8) on 49 catches.
Before becoming a full-time assistant at USM, Bell spent one season as the team’s offensive graduate assistant in 2010 when the team played Louisville in the Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl. With his input, the Golden Eagles set new offensive records for production that year, including a then-school record 5,894 yards and 453.38 yards per game.
Prior to Southern Miss, Bell spent a season as a quality control coach at Oklahoma State. His lone season at OSU saw the Cowboys post a 9-4 record and play in the Cotton Bowl. Before Oklahoma State, Bell worked two years as a graduate assistant at Memphis following his playing days at Middle Tennessee. The Tigers played in back-to-back bowl games during Bell’s tenure at the school, including the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl and the 2007 New Orleans Bowl.
The Dickson, Tenn., native earned both his bachelor’s degree (criminal justice administration, 2005) and master’s degree (sports management, 2006) from Middle Tennessee, where he was a four-year letterman at wide receiver for the Blue Raiders. Bell also worked at Louisiana-Lafayette for one spring following his final season at MTSU.