Steve Bell takes over as head football coach at Augustana
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Steve Bell was introduced as the 19th head coach in the storied history of Augustana football at a press conference in the Ken Anderson Academic All-America Club on Friday, January 9. Bell, who fashioned a 112-44 (.718) overall record as the head football coach at Monmouth, replaces Rob Cushman. Cushman resigned in early December after compiling a 17-23 record in four years.
“This is an exciting time for my family, the Augie alumni, and most importantly, the current Augustana football players,” said Bell. “I am personally ecstatic to be a part of a program that has such a deep and rooted history and tradition. Being the head football coach at Augustana College is definitely one of the premier jobs in the Midwest and I look forward to getting started in the process of moving our program in a direction to expect success.”
Bell’s work at Monmouth has been the model of consistency and excellence. When he took over the Scots prior to the 2000 season he inherited a program that had compiled a record of 8-39 overall and 5-25 in the Midwest Conference over the previous five campaigns. After a 3-7 record in his initial year of 2000, Bell led Monmouth to an 8-2 mark in 2001. That was the best record since the Scots were 8-2 in 1989.
“Steve Bell appreciates the role that an athletic program committed to excellence, combined with an outstanding academic program, can have in building an excellent college experience,” said Augustana president Steve Bahls. “We are looking forward to an exciting new chapter for Augustana football.”
During his tenure at Monmouth Bell’s teams won four Midwest Conference championships (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011) and finished second six times. The Scots were an impressive 100-30 (.769) in league play. This past season Monmouth was 8-2 overall and 4-1 in the loop.
Mike Zapolski, Augustana’s director of athletics, was clear from the beginning on what he was looking for in a new head coach. “We wanted someone who had a proven, successful record as a head coach, an offensive minded philosophy, a clear understanding of NCAA Division III and an ability to develop relationships with people in the recruiting areas that we need to be cognizant of,” he stated. “We think that Steve hits each one of these areas and we are anxious to have him get started.”
Bell was the five-time Midwest Conference “Coach of the Year” and he led Monmouth into the NCAA Division III playoffs four times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011). During his tenure he helped produce a Melberger Award (NCAA Division III “Player of the Year”) winner in 2009, two Gagliardi Award (Division III Heisman) finalists, one Academic All-American and four Academic All-District selections as chosen by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). He coached the NCAA Division III career leader in passing yardage with 14,249 yards and the all-divisions touchdown leader with 157.
He leaves Monmouth as the all-time winningest coach in school history.
Prior to taking the Monmouth job in 2000 he served as the offensive coordinator at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois from 1995-99 and was an assistant coach at Bemidji State (Minnesota) from 1992-94.
A native of Virginia, Minnesota, Bell is a 1992 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in physical education. He also has graduate credits toward his M.S. in physical education from Bemidji State. A member of the American Football Coaches Association since 1995, Bell has been a highly sought-after clinic speaker in the Midwest.