Walt Bell Named Assistant Head Football Coach, Offensive Coordinator at A-State

JONESBORO, AR (News release) - Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson has announced that Walt Bell has been named offensive coordinator for the Red Wolves and will also serve as the team’s assistant head coach while overseeing the quarterbacks position. 

Bell spent the last four seasons working with Anderson on the coaching staffs at both Southern Miss and North Carolina, but his ties to the Red Wolves’ new 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 eight bowl games as either a coach or player, comes to Arkansas State after spending the last 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 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 this year’s class is currently 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.

A-State also announced another coaching hire today:

Elarbee Named A-State Co-Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line Coach

JONESBORO, AR (News release) - Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson has announced that Glen Elarbee has been named the Red Wolves’ co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. 

Elarbee most recently spent the 2013 season as the offensive line coach for the University of Houston, helping lead the Cougars to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Elarbee was part of the offensive staff that helped the Cougars average 420.7 yards of total offense, including 280.9 passing yards per game that ranked 26th in the nation. Houston also ranked 38th in the nation scoring offense with 33.2 points per game. 

His lone season at Houston saw him tutor starting left tackle DeAnthony Sims, who earned all-league recognition from the American Athletic Conference after playing a total of 899 offensive snaps with 36 knockdown blocks. Sims was part of an offense that ranked second in the AAC in scoring and fourth in sacks allowed. 

Elarbee has ties to the Sun Belt Conference as well, serving as former league member Middle Tennessee’s offensive line coach in 2012 before joining the Houston staff. The Blue Raiders’ offensive line ranked second nationally in sacks allowed under Elarbee, giving up just seven on 344 pass attempts. The group, which included All-Sun Belt performer Micah James, also helped pave the way for three different 100-yard rushers. 

Prior to his time at MTSU, Elarbee spent two seasons at West Georgia, first as the offensive line coach in 2010 before being elevated to offensive coordinator in 2011. At UWG, wide receiver and return specialist Denarius Appling earned All-America honors in 2011 and was one of three offensive players to receive all-conference honors. The 2010 season saw offensive tackle Brandon White named the Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Year. 

The Carrollton, Ga. native has additional experience coaching in bowl games as he spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons as an offensive graduate assistant at Oklahoma State and the 2007 campaign on the staff of an LSU team that captured the BCS National Championship. The 2008 Oklahoma State offense ranked among the top 10 teams nationally in rushing, total offense, scoring and pass efficiency while the 2007 LSU squad scored at least 40 points in seven games. 

Elarbee spent the 2006 season as the offensive line coach at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss., after a year as Middle Tennessee’s tight ends coach in 2005. Elarbee began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for MTSU in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, when he worked alongside Anderson while the Red Wolves’ new head coach served as the Blue Raiders co-offensive coordinator. 

As a collegiate offensive lineman, Elarbee played in 35 career games at Middle Tennessee, starting his final 23, and earned all-conference honors as a junior and senior. A four-year letterman, Elarbee was a member of the program’s first Sun Belt Conference championship team in 2001. He had 91 knockdowns on 735 snaps as a senior. 

Elarbee and his wife, Holly, have one son, Griffin.

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