PITTSBURGH—Calling him “one of college football’s most dynamic and aggressive offensive minds,” Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi announced the hiring of Kade Bell as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Bell earned his Pitt appointment after directing one of the country’s most explosive offenses at Western Carolina the past three seasons.
In 2023, the Catamounts led the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in total offense with an average of 504.1 yards per game. Additionally, WCU ranked third in passing offense (321.1 yards per game) and fourth in scoring (37.5 points per game).
Western Carolina paced the highly competitive Southern Conference in no fewer than eight offensive categories while setting school records for total yards (5,545) and passing touchdowns (33). Bell’s quarterback, Cole Gonzales, a finalist for the prestigious Walter Payton Award (most outstanding FCS offensive player), finished the regular season with an FCS-best 28 touchdown passes and a sterling 166.40 efficiency rating (third in FCS).
In 52 career games as an offensive coordinator, Bell’s teams have produced more than 500 yards 31 times (60%).
“Kade’s offensive approach—relentlessly fast and aggressive—is everything a defensive coordinator hates to face and the type of system our players will absolutely love,” Narduzzi said. “He’s an incredibly creative play caller who is widely regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in the country. Beyond ‘Xs and Os,’ Kade understands and greatly values relationship-building with his players and fellow coaches. On and off the field, Kade Bell will make us better.”
“I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity that Coach Narduzzi and Director of Athletics Heather Lyke have given me to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh. Great players, traditions and championships are what this program is about. I can’t wait to get to work and be part of something special in the City of Pittsburgh. Hope our fans are ready to play fast and score faster. Hail to Pitt!”
Prior to Western Carolina, Bell was the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Tusculum University, where during the 2021 spring season his offense averaged 533.4 yards and 37.6 points per game en route to the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) title.
Bell was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Valdosta State from 2016-18. In his final season, the Blazers went 14-0 and claimed the NCAA Division II national championship. VSU averaged a national-best 52 points per game, breaking the NCAA Division II record for points in a season (728).
The Blazers led the nation in touchdown passes (50), yards per play (7.9), yards per rush (7.2) and points per play (an NCAA Division II-record 0.78). VSU’s average of 524 yards per game that season ranked fourth nationally.
Under Bell’s tutelage, quarterback Rogan Wells was the 2018 Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a two-time runner-up for the Harlon Hill Trophy, presented to the most valuable NCAA Division II player. Wells threw for 3,078 yards and 38 touchdowns during the Blazers’ march to the 2018 title.
Bell began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Valdosta State in 2016, working with the quarterbacks for a Blazers team that qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs. His additional experience includes one season (2019) at the University of South Florida as an offensive analyst.
Bell is the son of Kerwin Bell, the former Florida Gators quarterback and professional football player who is presently the head coach at Western Carolina. The elder Bell was also the head coach at Valdosta State (2016-18) and Jacksonville University (2007-15).
Kade was a four-year starting quarterback under his father at Jacksonville from 2011-15, producing 9,613 total yards and accounting for 93 touchdowns. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Jacksonville and would also earn a master’s degree in public administration from Valdosta State in 2018.
Bell and his wife, Charlotte, have a daughter, Palmer.
Source: E.J. Borghetti/Pitt Athletics