AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts hired Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell on Monday as its new head coach.

The 34-year-old Bell has been a fast riser in college coaching, going from a graduate assistant at Southern Mississippi to offensive coordinator at two Power Five schools before the age of 35.

"I am immensely excited for the opportunity to serve as the University of Massachusetts football head coach, and for my wife, Maria, and I to join the UMass family," Bell said in a statement. "I look forward to getting right to work with the young men on our team."

Before joining Willie Taggart's staff at Florida State, he spent two years as offensive coordinator at Maryland. He also was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas State for two seasons.

"Walt is a fantastic coach who has tremendous credentials as an offensive coordinator, recruiter and developer of talent," athletic director Ryan Bamford said. "It is Walt's genuine interest in supporting the personal growth of his student-athletes, evidenced by his lasting relationships as a mentor and leader the last 10 years - that really resonated with us. He is a teacher, a motivator and an ambassador and we are fortunate to have him lead our Minutemen in to the future."

UMass has yet to have a winning season since moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012. Bell will be the third coach for the Minutemen since the move. The school parted ways with Mark Whipple last month. UMass was 4-8 last season, its best as an FBS school.

Bell played receiver for Middle Tennessee from 2002-05.


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