Kade Bell is the man who will be tasked with turning around a Pitt offense that tanked in 2023.
Pitt has hired Western Carolina offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator Kade Bell as its new offensive coordinator, The Athletic reported. Panther-Lair reported first.
Pitt moved on from previous offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. after two seasons following a season finale loss to Duke last month, and it sent Pat Narduzzi into perhaps the most important coordinator search of his Pitt tenure.
Bell will be tasked with turning around an offense that hit rock bottom under Cignetti last season, averaging just 20.2 points per game and 317.9 total yards per game, and he will have — largely — the same offense that Cignetti had in 2024.
Pitt secured the returns of Rodney Hammond Jr., Gavin Bartholomew and both Ryan Baer and Branson Taylor, and the hire of a young, innovative play-caller should excite those who may have been on the fence.
Bell is coming off a two-season stint at Western Carolina — an FCS program in Cullowhee, N.C. — and he turned the Catamounts into one of the most explosive programs in college football.
The Catamounts averaged 37.5 points per game and 504.1 yards (321.2 passing yards and 182.9 rushing yards) per game to lead the Southern Conference. And, in a complete flip from the 2023 season in Pittsburgh, WCU converted 44.2% of third down opportunities.
WCU quarterback Cole Gonzales threw for 2,803 yards with 28 touchdowns to eight interceptions, leading offense that broke school records for total yards and passing touchdowns.
— Western Carolina Football (@CatamountsFB) November 24, 2023
Bell is a young, up-and-coming coach, graduating from Jacksonville in 2015 after a standout career as a quarterback, and he’s still fresh in the industry.
He started his coaching career as an assistant at Valdosta State (D2) in 2016, rising to offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator — leading an offense in 2018 that broke the Division II total points record.
Bell took the offensive coordinator position, also serving as an associate head coach, at Tusculum (D2) in 2020, and he spent two years with the Pioneers before taking the offensive coordinator job at WCU
Bell is likely the most important hire that Narduzzi will make in his near-decade as the Pitt head coach, as Narduzzi likes to be hands-off with his offensive personnel and let the offensive coordinator handle all of the day-to-day duties, and Bell will be tasked with turning around an inept offense that cannot flop again.
Bell is a change from how Narduzzi has traditionally hired, and he does not have any Power Five (or even FBS) experience, but he has certainly produced at his prior stops. Now he will have to produce at Pitt.