USF could be close to hiring Kerwin Bell to run offense

Bell and USF officials are expected to meet again Thursday
Former Gators quarterback Kerwin Bell (left), talking to former Gators coach Steve Spurrier, could be close to becoming USF's next offensive coordinator. [AP photo]
Former Gators quarterback Kerwin Bell (left), talking to former Gators coach Steve Spurrier, could be close to becoming USF's next offensive coordinator. [AP photo]
Published January 9
Updated January 10

Though nothing has been finalized, it's appearing USF is close to naming Valdosta (Ga.) State coach and former Gators quarterback Kerwin Bell as its new offensive coordinator.

A north Florida/south Georgia TV station reported Wednesday evening Bell had taken the job, but a source close to the negotiations said Wednesday evening a deal has not been completed. The parties were expected to meet again Thursday.

USF, which ended the season on a six-game skid, is seeking a replacement for Sterlin Gilbert, named coach at Division I-AA McNeese State in December.

Bell led Valdosta State to a 14-0 record and Division II national title this past season. In three seasons with the Blazers, he compiled a 27-7 record.

His '18 squad finished fourth among Division II teams in total offense (523.9 ypg) and led the nation in yards per play (7.89). The Blazers were 28th in passing offense (261.3 ypg) but first in yards per completion (15.2) and touchdown passes (50).

A 53-year-old north Florida native, Bell remains a folk hero among Gator fans of a prior generation. A walk-on from tiny Mayo High, he was thrust into the starting role days before the 1984 season opener when Dale Dorminey suffered a knee injury, and led UF to consecutive 9-1-1 seasons.

Florida won the '84 SEC title on the field, but later was forced to vacate it due to violations uncovered during the Charley Pell era. In four seasons, Bell threw for more than 7,500 yards and 56 touchdowns, leading UF to a pair of wins against Georgia and three against FSU.

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