Source: FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell to be hired as next UMass football coach

Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell coaches during a game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Northern Illinois Huskies on Sept. 22, 2018. (Getty)

Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell is in line to be the next coach at UMass, according to a source with knowledge of the hire.

Sources told Yahoo Sports that Bell has agreed to a five-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 next year. Bell’s youth, energy and history of strong offensive acumen were attractive to athletic director Ryan Bamford, who has been transforming the athletic department with savvy hires in men’s basketball and hockey.

Heading into this season at Florida State, Bell’s offenses that he called at Maryland and Arkansas State averaged 31.8 points per game over those four seasons. He comes from a tree of high-flying spread offenses, as he’s also spent time working on dynamic staffs at Oklahoma State, Southern Miss and North Carolina.

Bell is known as a dogged recruiter, which remains a challenge at UMass as the school lacks a conference affiliation. UMass fired coach Mark Whipple in the wake of a 4-8 season that included Whipple being suspended for insensitive comments.

Florida State’s offense struggled this season, with Willie Taggart eventually handing over play-calling duties to Bell in November.

The Seminoles finished No. 114 nationally in scoring offense. This will give Taggart a chance to potentially change FSU’s identity on offense, as Taggart’s system clearly didn’t mesh with the players he inherited from Jimbo Fisher.

The appeal of Bell will be fresh energy and a modern offense for the program, which has a much more manageable schedule in upcoming years. UMass’ only Power Five games in 2019 are against Rutgers and Northwestern.

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