Mike Bell was hired in July of 2018, becoming the fifth head coach in Pitt baseball history, bringing 14 years of Division I coaching experience to the Panther program. He joins Pitt after a seven-year stint as the associate head coach and pitching coach at ACC powerhouse Florida State.
"I want to thank Chancellor Gallagher and Heather Lyke for their belief in me to lead the Pitt baseball program," Bell said. "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. My wife, Alicia, my kids and I are thrilled to become a part of the Pittsburgh community and we can't wait to meet all of our great fans as we begin this incredible journey."
Since 2005, Bell has helped lead three teams to four College World Series appearances – Tennessee (2005), Oklahoma (2010) and Florida State (2012 & 2017). He has coached eight All-Americans, guided 12 Top 25 recruiting classes and coached 47 MLB Draft picks, including 25 at Florida State. In 2012, he was named the Perfect Game Assistant Coach of the Year and was named the No. 13 recruiter in the country by D1Baseball.com prior to the 2017 season.
"We are extremely excited to welcome Mike Bell and his family to Pittsburgh," Lyke said. "Coach Bell brings an outstanding pedigree as a player and coach and we were impressed with his strong desire to lead our baseball program at Pitt and get connected in the city of Pittsburgh.
"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. 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."
In five of his seven seasons, Florida State pitchers have recorded 500 or more strikeouts, including a pair of top 10 seasons in 2017 (640, fifth most) and 2018 (635, seventh most). The Seminoles posted a 314-136-0 record in his tenure, reaching a Super Regional on three occasions, advancing to the College World Series twice. Florida State captured three ACC titles in Bell's time in Tallahassee, Fla., taking home conference tournament titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Bell made stops at Oklahoma and Tennessee in his time prior to Florida State. In his first seven seasons at the Division I level, including four at Oklahoma and three at Tennessee, he helped recruit and develop 22 pitchers who were selected in the Major League Baseball draft. That includes three first-round selections – including 2006 No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochevar.
In four seasons at Oklahoma, Bell's pitching staffs established a number of new standards. His 2011 group posted a 3.00 ERA, which is the Sooners' lowest since 1978. Four of his hurlers earned All-Big 12 honors, including second-team All-American Michael Rocha. The Sooners posted a 41-17 record and were ranked No. 15 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. In 2010, his pitching staff was instrumental in leading OU back to the College World Series for the first time since 1995.
Beyond his Division I experience, he spent two seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Division II perennial power Florida Southern, where the Mocs twice finished in the top 20 nationally in ERA. He launched his coaching career in 2002 at Brandon High, where he led the team to a district title and a regional runner-up finish as the head coach, earning Hillsborough County Coach of the Year honors.
A left-handed pitcher and first baseman for the Seminoles, Bell reached the College World Series as a player in both 1994 and 1995. Bell posted a two-year record of 14-4 with a 3.00 ERA and was twice named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll. He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education at Florida State in 1996 and previously spent two seasons as a pitcher at Hernando Community College, where he was a two-time All-Suncoast Conference selection.
Selected in the 20th round of the 1995 draft by the Montreal Expos, Bell spent six years in the minors, including the final three with the Baltimore Orioles' organization where he reached the Double-A level.