Kerwin Douglas Bell (born June 15, 1965) is an American football coach and former player who is currently the offensive coordinator for the South Florida Bulls football team. Bell was born in the North Central Florida town of Live Oak and was a star high school football quarterback at Lafayette County High School in nearby Mayo, Florida. Bell did not attract the attention of top college football programs while playing at the small high school, so he decided to attend the University of Florida in nearby Gainesville and join the Florida Gators football team as a walk-on.
After being redshirted during his first season at the school, Bell became the Gators' starting quarterback in 1984 and remained the starter for four years. He was the Southeastern Conference (SEC) player of the year in 1984 and was named to several All-SEC and All-American lists before graduating in 1987.
After college, he played professionally in the National Football League (NFL), World League of American Football (WLAF) and the Canadian Football League (CFL) for fourteen seasons in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Though he started dozens of games in the WLAF and the CFL, he never started an NFL contest and threw only five regular season passes in his NFL career. However, he completed all five of those passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, leaving him with the highest career passer rating in league history, albeit in a very small sample size.
After retiring as a player, Bell returned to Florida and served as the head football coach at Trinity High School in Ocala from 2001 to 2006, winning a state championship in 2005. He became the head coach at NCAA Division II (D-II) Jacksonville University in 2007 and led the Dolphins to their first three conference championships during his nine seasons at the school. Bell moved to Valdosta State University in 2016, and in 2018, he led the Blazers to their first undefeated season and the 2018 NCAA D-II national championship on the strength of the highest scoring offense in college football.
|Born:||June 15, 1965|
Live Oak, Florida
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||207 lb (94 kg)|
|High school:||Lafayette County (FL)|
|NFL Draft:||1988 / Round: 7 / Pick: 180|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career CFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Bell was born in Live Oak, Florida in North Central Florida to Doyle and Zelda Bell and grew up in nearby Mayo, Florida, population 800. His parents were tobacco farmers, and Kerwin helped with various farming tasks throughout his youth. Bell attended Lafayette County High School, where he was the president of the student council and a multi-sport athlete, playing shortstop on the baseball team, leading the basketball team in scoring as a starting guard, and starting at quarterback on the football team. In 1981, he led the Lafayette Hornets to their only state football championship, earning the nickname "The Throwin' Mayoan."
Despite his prep success, Bell was lightly recruited during his senior year with no athletic scholarship offers from major football programs, as his rural high school had competed in the lowest division of Florida high school football and coaches were unsure if he could succeed against top collegiate talent. Instead of attending a smaller college, Bell decided to walk-on at the University of Florida in nearby Gainesville and join the Florida Gators football team without an athletic scholarship. He was eighth on the Gators' quarterback depth chart during his freshman season of 1983 under head coach Galen Hall and was redshirted without playing in a game.
Bell was the Gators' backup quarterback coming into the 1984 season due to his consistent performance on the practice field and the fact that several quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart had graduated, transferred, or were injured. When senior starter Dale Dorminey suffered a serious knee injury four days before the Gators' first game, Bell was suddenly thrust into the starting role. The Gators opened the 1984 season against the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes in Tampa Stadium in one of the first college football games to be nationally televised by ESPN. In his first collegiate start, Bell threw a touchdown pass with under a minute remaining to give the Gators the lead, only to have Miami quarterback Bernie Kosar lead the Hurricanes to a winning score with seven seconds remaining.
The Gators would not lose another game during Bell's redshirt freshman season. Behind an outstanding offensive line, memorably dubbed "The Great Wall of Florida," and which included Phil Bromley, Lomas Brown, Billy Hinson, Crawford Ker and Jeff Zimmerman, and supported by fullback John L. Williams, halfback Neal Anderson and wide receiver Ricky Nattiel, Bell led the Gators to a 9–1–1 record, an SEC championship, and a top-5 national ranking.
However, due to NCAA infractions committed under coach Charley Pell, the Gators' were ineligible for bowl consideration, and their SEC championship was vacated months after the 1984 season ended. In 1985, now with a full scholarship, Bell led the Gators to a second consecutive 9–1–1 record. Though ineligible for the conference championship, the Gators finished with best-in-the-conference records of 5–0–1 and 5–1 in 1984 and 1985 and briefly held their first ever No. 1 ranking in the AP poll during the 1985 season.
Due to the effects of ongoing NCAA penalties, the Gators' record slipped to 6–5 in 1986 and 6–6 in 1987, Bell's junior and senior seasons. A highlight of those campaigns was Florida's upset of the No. 5 and undefeated Auburn Tigers in November 1986. Bell had injured his knee a month prior and did not start the game. But with the Gators trailing 17–0 in the fourth quarter, he entered the contest wearing a large knee brace and led his team to a dramatic 18–17 comeback win, capped with a last-minute touchdown pass to Ricky Nattiel followed by Bell himself "hobbling" into the endzone for a successful two-point conversion.
Bell was the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Year in 1984, an honorable mention All-American in 1985 and 1986, a first-team All-SEC selection in 1985, and the recipient of the Gators' Fergie Ferguson Award and a team captain in 1987. He finished his four-year college career with 549 completions on 949 passing attempts, for 7,585 yards and fifty-six touchdowns.
Bell graduated from Florida with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1987, and was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1997. Among the top 100 Gators of the first 100 years of Florida football, the sportswriters of The Gainesville Sun ranked him the No. 26 greatest Gator of all time in 2006.
Bell had a well-traveled football career. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the seventh round (180th pick overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft, and spent the season on the Dolphins' practice squad. He spent part of 1989 as the Buccaneers' third-team quarterback, but a serious knee injury ended his season and prevented him from playing at all in 1990. In 1991, Bell finally got a chance to start with the Orlando Thunder of the World League of American Football and threw for 2,214 yards, and was the Thunder's backup quarterback in 1992 when the team went to the World Bowl.
Bell began a seven-year Canadian Football League career in 1993, with the Sacramento Gold Miners, part of the failed CFL expansion into the United States. As a back-up quarterback in 1993, Bell threw for 296 yards, but his passing production increased to 1,812 yards in 1994. Bell played for the Edmonton Eskimos in 1995.
In 1996, Bell landed a roster spot with the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL, and in week 15 he entered the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Bell attempted five passes and completed all of them, throwing for 75 yards and a touchdown on the day. He never again threw a pass in a regular season NFL game, leaving him with the highest career passer rating of any quarterback in NFL history. He was the Colts' third team quarterback in 1997 but did not play in a regular season game.
Bell returned to the CFL in 1998 with the Toronto Argonauts and had his best professional year. He threw for 4,991 yards and 27 touchdowns and set a lead record with a completion percentage of 67.3%, earning him a spot on the CFL All-Star team. He signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and again passed for over 4000 yards in 1999, but was injured early in 2000 and was traded back to Toronto, where he remained until retiring after the 2001 season. Bell played for the Argonauts more than any other team in his career, passing for 8,811 career yards in forty-six regular season games with Toronto. Overall, Bell played in 126 regular season CFL games, completed 1,560 passes in 2,558 attempts, and threw 101 touchdowns.
Bell first coached in 1990, when his playing career was temporarily interrupted by a serious knee injury. Bell returned to the University of Florida while rehabilitating to serve as a graduate assistant coach under Steve Spurrier, who was in his first season as the Gators' head ball coach. Bell remained in Gainesville for only one season, as he resumed his playing career in the summer of 1991 with the Orlando Thunder of the WLAF. However, working under Spurrier and watching the "Fun 'n' Gun" offense in games and in practice would have a strong influence on Bell's future offensive philosophies. “The spacing and just the concepts of the routes and the rhythm of the system. That’s almost perfection and that’s what I try to obtain every day in practice,” he said in 2019.
After retiring as a player, Bell returned to his home state to became the first head football coach at brand-new Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida, which fielded its first varsity team in 2002. The program grew quickly under Bell, with the Celtics making the district playoffs in their second season. In 2005, Trinity went 14-0 and won the Florida 2A state high school football championship on the strength of a prolific passing attack that produced 41 touchdown passes against 5 interceptions. Trinity went undefeated for a second consecutive regular season in 2006 and lost in the state championship game, ending a 27-game winning streak.
In 2007, Bell became the head coach of the Jacksonville Dolphins, a non-scholarship NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football program representing Jacksonville University. In Bell's second season, the JU Dolphins went 9–4 and won the Pioneer Football League (PFL) championship, and Bell was recognized as the PFL Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award. The Dolphins won another PFL championship in 2010 with a 10–1 record.
During his tenure at Jacksonville, Bell was rumored to be a candidate for coaching positions at major college programs and confirmed a 2011 interview for the offensive coordinator position with the Florida Gators. Regarding other job options, Bell stated that he intended to build a "strong legacy" at Jacksonville University and would only leave for "the right situation".
Despite compiling a 66–35 record and winning three PFL championships at a school that had only posted one winning season before his arrival, Bell's contract was not renewed after the 2015 season. The school's administration announced that the decision was due to "philosophical differences" stemming from the fact that the school wanted to keep the non-scholarship football program as-is while Bell had publicly speculated that the JU could eventually develop a major FCS football program by offering scholarships.
In 2018, Bell led the Blazers to the program's first undefeated season (14-0) and the Division II National Championship. The Blazers led D-II in scoring with 52 points per game and scored the most points in Gulf South Conference history.
In January 2019, Bell was named the offensive coordinator for the South Florida Bulls by head coach Charlie Strong, who knew Bell from several stints as an assistant coach at the University of Florida. Bell was given "total control" of the Bulls' offense, which had stagnated before his arrival.
Kerwin Bell married the former Cosette Odom in 1986, while they were both students at the University of Florida. The two had first met in kindergarten in their hometown of Mayo, and at the time of their marriage, Cosette was Florida's majorette captain while Kerwin was the Gators' star quarterback. Their son, Kade Bell, joined his father's coaching staff at Valdosta State and was the primary playcaller during their national championship season in 2018. Kade also joined his father's staff at USF.
|Jacksonville Dolphins (Pioneer Football League) (2007–2015)|
|2008||Jacksonville||9–4||7–1||1st||L Gridiron Classic|
|Jacksonville:||66–35||52–19||*Official record was 0–0 due to rules violations|
|Valdosta State Blazers (Gulf South Conference) (2016–present)|
|2016||Valdosta State||8–3||6–2||T–2nd||L NCAA Division II First Round||18|
|2018||Valdosta State||14–0||8–0||1st||W NCAA Division II Championship||1|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|
The 1980 Kansas Jayhawks football team represented the University of Kansas in the Big Eight Conference during the 1980 NCAA Division I-A football season. In their sixth season under head coach Don Fambrough, the Jayhawks compiled a 4–5–2 record (3–3–1 against conference opponents), and were outscored by opponents by a combined total of 208 to 171. They played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas.
The team's statistical leaders included Frank Seurer with 797 passing yards, Kerwin Bell with 1,114 rushing yards, and David Verser with 576 receiving yards. Harry Sydney and Frank Wattlelet were the team captains.In October 1982, an NCAA investigation revealed that running back Kerwin Bell was not an eligible player for the 1980 and 1981 seasons due to not surpassing the 2.0 minimum high school GPA. The Big Eight Conference ruled that all Kansas games in which Bell played were to be forfeited, bringing their conference record to 1–6 on the year. However, Kansas still records these games as victories in their record book, including their 20–18 victory over rival Kansas State. The two schools dispute the overall series record because of this.1983 Kansas Jayhawks football team
The 1983 Kansas Jayhawks football team represented the University of Kansas in the Big Eight Conference during the 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season. In their first season under head coach Mike Gottfried, the Jayhawks compiled a 4–6–1 record (2–5 against conference opponents), finished in seventh place in the conference, and were outscored by opponents by a combined total of 320 to 296. They played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Jayhawks upset 10th ranked USC in Los Angeles 26–20 in their only game against USC in school history.
The team's statistical leaders included Frank Seurer with 2,789 passing yards, Kerwin Bell with 498 rushing yards, and Bob Johnson with 1,154 receiving yards. Seurer, Mike Arbanas, Paul Fairchild, E. J. Jones, and Eddie Simmons were the team captains.2010 Jacksonville Dolphins football team
The 2010 Jacksonville Dolphins football team represented Jacksonville University in the 2010 NCAA Division I FCS football season. The Dolphins were led by fourth-year head coach Kerwin Bell and played their home games at D. B. Milne Field. They were a member of the Pioneer Football League. They finished the season 10–1, 8–0 in PFL play to finish tied for first place. They won their second PFL Championship in school history.2011 Jacksonville Dolphins football team
The 2011 Jacksonville Dolphins football team represented Jacksonville University in the 2011 NCAA Division I FCS football season. The Dolphins were led by fifth-year head coach Kerwin Bell and played their home games at D. B. Milne Field. They are a member of the Pioneer Football League. They finished the season 7–4, 6–2 in PFL play to finish in third place.2012 Jacksonville Dolphins football team
The 2012 Jacksonville Dolphins football team represented Jacksonville University in the 2012 NCAA Division I FCS football season. They were led by sixth-year head coach Kerwin Bell and played their home games at D. B. Milne Field. They are a member of the Pioneer Football League. They finished the season 7–4, 5–3 in PFL play to finish in a tie for fourth place.2013 Jacksonville Dolphins football team
The 2013 Jacksonville Dolphins football team represented Jacksonville University in the 2013 NCAA Division I FCS football season. They were led by seventh-year head coach Kerwin Bell and played their home games at D. B. Milne Field. They were a member of the Pioneer Football League. They finished the season 5–6, 4–4 in PFL play to finish in sixth place.2014 Jacksonville Dolphins football team
The 2014 Jacksonville Dolphins football team represented Jacksonville University in the 2014 NCAA Division I FCS football season. They were led by eighth-year head coach Kerwin Bell and played their home games at D. B. Milne Field. They were a member of the Pioneer Football League. They finished the season 9–2, 7–1 in PFL play. The 7–1 record would have been good enough to claim a share of the PFL title. However, Jacksonville withdrew from contention for the PFL title and the FCS Playoffs as a result of its internal review of compliance matters regarding the PFL’s financial aid rules.2015 Jacksonville Dolphins football team
The 2015 Jacksonville Dolphins football team represented Jacksonville University in the 2015 NCAA Division I FCS football season. They were led by ninth-year head coach Kerwin Bell and played their home games at D. B. Milne Field. They were a member of the Pioneer Football League. They finished the season 9–2, 6–2 in PFL play. However, due to PFL rules violations, their official conference record was 0–0 and did not occupy a place in the conference standings.
On December 3, it was announced that head coach Kerwin Bell's contract would not be renewed. He finished at Jacksonville with a nine year record of 66–35.2016 Valdosta State Blazers football team
The 2016 Valdosta State Blazers football team represented Valdosta State University during the 2016 NCAA Division II football season. They were led by head coach Kerwin Bell, who was in his first season at Valdosta State. The Blazers played their home games at Bazemore–Hyder Stadium and were members of the Gulf South Conference.2017 Valdosta State Blazers football team
The 2017 Valdosta State Blazers football team represented Valdosta State University during the 2017 NCAA Division II football season. They were led by second-year head coach Kerwin Bell. The Blazers played their home games at Bazemore–Hyder Stadium and were members of the Gulf South Conference.2019 South Florida Bulls football team
The 2019 South Florida Bulls football team will represent the University of South Florida (USF) during the 2019 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Bulls will be led by third-year head coach Charlie Strong and will play their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. They will compete as members of the East Division of the American Athletic Conference.Jacksonville Dolphins football
For information on all Jacksonville University sports, see Jacksonville DolphinsThe Jacksonville Dolphins football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Jacksonville University located in the U.S. state of Florida. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Pioneer Football League. Jacksonville's first football team was fielded in 1998. The team plays its home games at the 5,000 seat D. B. Milne Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The Dolphins were formerly coached by Kerwin Bell.Jimmy Kemp
James Paul Kemp (born June 27, 1971) is the president of the Jack Kemp Foundation, the executive vice president of Group 47 and a former CFL quarterback. He is the brother of former NFL quarterback Jeff Kemp and the son of American Football League Most Valuable Player and U.S. Representative Jack Kemp.List of Toronto Argonauts starting quarterbacks
The following is an incomplete list of starting quarterbacks for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League that have started a regular season game for the team. This list includes postseason appearances since 1995, but does not include preseason games. They are listed in order of most starts with any tiebreaker being the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Argonauts.List of Winnipeg Blue Bombers starting quarterbacks
The following is an incomplete list of starting quarterbacks for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League that have started a regular season game for the team. This list includes postseason appearances since 1994, but does not include preseason games. They are listed in order of most starts with any tiebreaker being the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Blue Bombers.Mike Sheppard
Mike Sheppard (born October 29, 1951) is an American football coach and former player.
In 1983 as offensive coordinator at Kansas, he helped guide quarterback Frank Seurer to 2,789 yards and 14 touchdowns. RBs Kerwin Bell, E.J. Jones, and Robert Mimbs combined to run for 1,295 yards and 9 TD. WR Bob Johnson had 58 catches for 1,154 yards and 7 TD. The team scored over 30 points in five games despite finishing the season at 4–6–1 including a 26–20 win over #10 USC and a 37–27 win over #19 Missouri.
From 1984 to 1987, he served as the head football coach at Long Beach State, where he compiled a 16–18 record through three seasons. In 1984 to 1985, he compiled back-to-back non-losing seasons at 6–6 and 6–5, respectively. From 1987 to 1991, he took the head coaching job at the University of New Mexico, and led the Lobos to a 9–50 record. His best season with New Mexico was a 3–9 season in 1991.
As offensive coordinator for one season at California in 1992, he helped guide QB Dave Barr to a season where he threw for 2,343 yards and 19 TD. RB Russell White ran for 1,069 yards and 9 TD. He also guided WR Sean Dawkins to 65 catches for 1,070 yards and 14 TD. Despite going 4–7 on the year, the team scored over 40 points on three separate occasions.
Sheppard was the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers in 1997 and 1998, the Buffalo Bills in 2001, and the New Orleans Saints in 2005. He was the wide receivers coach of the Cincinnati Bengals from 2007 to 2010.
In February 2011, Sheppard was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars to replace Mike Shula as quarterbacks coach. He was moved to wide receivers coach on November 30 to replace fired coach Johnny Cox.Orlando Thunder
The Orlando Thunder was a member of the World League of American Football from 1991 to 1992 (known as NFL Europe from 1995 onwards). The team played their games in the 70,000 seat Florida Citrus Bowl, and was coached by Don Matthews in 1991 and Galen Hall in 1992. The team's most visible point was their colors – the League wanted to develop new colors which hadn't been used for teams before, hence the vermilion and green that the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks wore, and the fluorescent green jerseys that the Thunder sported.
The team's general managers were Lee Corso and Dick Beam. In 1991 the team played to a 5–5 record, and in 1992 the team had an outstanding 8–2 record, and made it to the World Bowl II championship game before losing to the Sacramento Surge 21–17. The Thunder's attendance figures fell from over 19,000 per game in its first year to just over 16,000 per game in 1992. The team folded after the 1992 season with the rest of the WLAF's North American operations. The league would later use the team's name (but not its colors or history) for the Berlin Thunder.
Notable players include Kerwin Bell and Scott Mitchell, a left-handed quarterback who went on to play in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions.
In 2006, readers of ESPN's Uni Watch column voted the team's jersey 2nd worst football jersey of all-time.Toronto Argonauts all-time records and statistics
The following is a list of Toronto Argonauts all time records and statistics current to the 2018 CFL season. Each category lists the top five players, where known, except for when the fifth place player is tied in which case all players with the same number are listed.Valdosta State Blazers football
The Valdosta State football team represents Valdosta State University in football. The Blazers are a member of the Gulf South Conference (GSC) in NCAA Division II. Valdosta State University has had a football team since 1981. The Blazers play in Bazemore–Hyder Stadium in Valdosta, Georgia, which has a capacity of 11,249. The stadium is also the home of the historical Valdosta High School Wildcats. The Blazers have won a total of four Division II National Championship titles (2004, 2007, 2012 and 2018).
Kerwin Bell—awards and honors