On Wednesday, UMass Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford announced former Florida State Offensive Coordinator Walt Bell as the new Head Coach of the UMass football team. At just 34 years old, Bell will be the youngest current head coach in the FBS.
“Walt honestly won the job. He came in and had me convinced the first time I started talking to him. You get a feel for a person and how they handle adversity, how they handle success. How he talked philosophically about what was important on the offensive side of the football… I liked the conversation I had with him, whether he was 10 years older or 10 years younger. It was just a good fit, really good alignment with the things we’re all about here and the things that I wanted for our football program,” said Bamford.
In his four years at UMass, Bamford has set a new standard of excellence, hiring many new coaches that share his expectations, and has had great success doing so. You need look no further than the coaches this winter. Hockey coach Greg Carvel is in year three, finally coaching his own players that he recruited, and has brought a team that had just eight wins the season before he arrived to #1 in the country and a serious contender to make it to the Frozen Four.
It feels like Walt Bell fits the same narrative and is the right guy to take UMass Football to the next level. “The feedback I received prior to our hire, and now since the hire was announced on Monday, has been exactly what we need,” said Bamford. “Words and statements like ‘he is a worker,’ ‘he is a grinder,’ ‘he loves the game of football,’ ‘he loves to be around young people,’ ‘he is a relentless recruiter,’ ‘he is loyal,’ ‘he is honest,’ ‘he is very serious,’ ‘he’s competitive.’ I think you will all come to know how passionate he is about not only football, but how passionate he will be about this institution. He will be a great ambassador for us.”
It’s certainly an exciting time to be a fan of UMass Athletics. With hockey’s rise to #1, basketball maybe just a year behind that schedule, and a new culture with the football team, you can really feel the excitement in the air.
Coach Bell said it best: “Everything here is positive. We had 42,000 applicants at UMass last year, and that’s a lot of people that are excited about the things that are happening here. We’re a top-30 public institution in the country. Not only do we have a lot of people that are excited about what we can achieve here, but who can see the trajectory going, and it’s only going to get better. Just overall, not only from an athletic department but from an institution itself, the momentum we have is important.”