Pitt parted ways with longtime baseball coach Joe Jordano in June, and on Tuesday, the university announced it had found his replacement in former Florida State associate head coach Mike Bell. In addition to his role as associate head coach, Bell, a former Seminoles pitcher, had great success serving as the team’s pitching coach during his seven-year stay in Tallahassee.
”I want to thank Chancellor [Patrick] Gallagher and [Pitt athletic director] Heather Lyke for their belief in me to lead the Pitt baseball program,” Bell said in a statement on Tuesday. “I am humbled to be the head coach at Pitt, and I look forward to leading this great program and our exemplary student-athletes as we develop our program and compete for championships.”
Bell has spent 14 years coaching baseball at the Division I level, holding positions at Tennessee and Oklahoma before ending up at his alma mater in 2012. He’s seen significant success at each stop along the way, as he’s reached the College World Series four times in his coaching career. He also reached the College World Series as a player in 1994 and 1995.
During that time, he’s earned a reputation as one of the college game’s top recruiters. D1Baseball.com ranked him as the No. 13 recruiter in the nation ahead of the 2017 season, and he had a hand in assembling 12 recruiting classes that placed among the Top 25.
”Coach Bell is a thoughtful leader whose professional experience, knowledge of the game and proven track record of success will enable him to lead our baseball program into sustained success in the ACC and nationally,” Lyke said of the hire. “He has recruited and won at the highest levels, and I am confident he will do the same here at Pitt. I look forward to our student-athletes, donors and fans getting to know Coach Bell and his family.”
Lyke’s addition of Bell seems to firmly establish her philosophy when it comes to coaching hires, as Bell is the third assistant she’s plucked from a top conference rival since March.
The other two were former Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel, who succeeded Kevin Stallings as the head coach of the men’s basketball team, and former Florida State associate head coach Lance White, who took over the women’s basketball team in April.
Like Capel, Bell spent the better part of a decade picking up the finer points of the profession from a Hall of Fame coach. For Capel, it was Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski. For Bell, it was Florida State’s Mike Martin, who has helmed the Seminoles since 1980.
Given their respective pedigrees, it’s clear that Capel and Bell are both expected to import winning cultures to Pittsburgh from the traditional seats of power in the ACC. Whether they’re able to at a school that has struggled to adapt to life in the conference remains to be seen, but Lyke’s ability to get them in the door in the first place feels like a victory in itself.