TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State head coach Willie Taggart finalized his coaching staff Friday with the official announcement of five new additions.
Coach Taggart added three coaches on offense, one on defense and one to oversee special teams. Walt Bell is the Seminoles’ new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, while Greg Frey will coach offensive line and serve as run game coordinator and David Kelly will coach wide receivers and be the assistant head coach. On defense, Mark Snyder joins the staff as defensive ends coach and Alonzo Hampton will serve as special teams coordinator.
“From the beginning of this process, my goal was to bring in the best coaches for our program and I believe we have done that,” Coach Taggart said. “This group will do a great job of recruiting, developing, coaching and mentoring our student-athletes to reach their highest potential. I’m excited for the next few weeks as we are finalizing our 2018 signing class and then working with our team as we prepare for spring practice.”
The new hires join already-announced defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett, associate head coach and defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins, linebackers coach Raymond Woodie, tight ends coach Telly Lockette and running backs coach Donte’ Pimpleton to complete FSU’s staff.
Bell joins the Seminoles after two seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Maryland and two seasons in the same position at Arkansas State, where he also held the assistant head coach title. Considered one of the most dynamic young offensive minds in college football, Bell has also coached at North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss and Memphis.
“This is one of the premier jobs in all of college football,” Coach Bell said. “With the incredible athletes on our roster, the ability to recruit nationally and Coach Taggart’s expertise, we are set up for success as an offense and as a program. I am incredibly excited to be here and be part of the tradition at FSU.”
In 2017, Bell oversaw an offense that started four different quarterbacks due to injuries and was one of two teams in the country to win at least three games with three different starting quarterbacks. Even with so much instability at the quarterback position, the Terrapins only threw eight interceptions and tied a program record for fewest turnovers with 14, a number that ranked 19th in FBS. Maryland opened the season with a 51-41 victory at No. 23 Texas, breaking the school record for points in a game against a ranked opponent.
Bell’s offense featured Big Ten Receiver of the Year DJ Moore, who broke the single-season school record with 80 catches, a conference-high average of 6.7 per game, and led the Big Ten with 1,033 receiving yards while becoming the program’s third 1,000-yard receiver. Moore, who declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season, ended his career with a streak of 33 straight games with at least one reception.
|2018-||Florida State||Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks|
|2014-15||Arkansas State||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks|
|2012-13||North Carolina||Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator|
|2011||Southern Miss||Wide Receivers|
|2010||Southern Miss||Offensive Graduate Assistant|
|2009||Oklahoma State||Quality Control|
Frey, a member of the Seminoles’ 1993 national championship team, returns to Tallahassee with 22 years of collegiate coaching experience, most recently spending the 2017 season as Michigan’s run game coordinator while also coaching tackles and tight ends. In his career, he has coached more than 20 student-athletes that reached the NFL and has tutored 21 all-conference honorees.
“I am fired up to join Coach Taggart in one of the most explosive offenses in college football,” Coach Frey said. “I feel very fortunate and humbled to have this opportunity to join a group of young and innovative minds. Combine our record of success with the prestige of a modern powerhouse, and I believe Coach Taggart will bring Florida State our first College Football Playoff national championship.”
Frey’s group helped pave the way for the fourth-highest rushing attack in the Big Ten in 2017 as the Wolverines averaged 177.7 yards per game on the ground and scored 26 rushing touchdowns. Michigan also was effective at grinding out the clock, holding the ball for an average of 31:57 per game to rank third in the conference and 20th in the NCAA. Offensive tackle Mason Cole earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and broke the school record for career starts by an offensive lineman with 51.
Combined, UM tight ends caught 54 passes for 697 yards and five touchdowns. Sean McKeon led the Wolverines in receiving with 31 catches for 301 yards and caught a team-high three touchdowns, and Zach Gentry ranked second on the team with 303 receiving yards on 17 receptions with two touchdowns. McKeon and Gentry both earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors, and six tight ends made the Academic All-Big Ten Team.
|2018-||Florida State||Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line|
|2017||Michigan||Run Game Coordinator/Tackles and Tight Ends|
|2016||Indiana||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line|
|2014-15||Indiana||Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line|
|2012-13||Indiana||Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line|
|2007||West Virginia||Offensive Line|
|2000-06||South Florida||Offensive Line|
|1999||South Florida||Defensive Ends|
|1996-98||South Florida||Graduate Assistant|
Kelly returns to the field with more than 30 years of coaching experience. He was on Coach Taggart’s staffs at Oregon and South Florida, serving as assistant athletic director for football recruiting operations and director of player personnel, respectively. He coached wide receivers at some of the top programs in the country, including UCF and LSU, and coached running backs at Georgia following a successful run as head coach at Dunwoody High School in Georgia.
“It’s an honor to be part of Coach Taggart’s coaching staff,” Coach Kelly said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to restore FSU football to its place among the national college football elite, and there is no better feeling than being back in the state of Florida. I have a great comfort level with Florida and the surrounding states because I have spent most of my life here. Thank you to everyone who has supported me. We have a lot of work to do as we build meaningful relationships with everyone in the FSU football family.”
In the previous two seasons, Kelly played a vital role in the recruiting operations at Oregon and South Florida. He is a highly respected coach and recruiter with experience at the high school level, ACC, SEC, Pac-12, Conference USA and in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos. He was named one of the top 25 college football recruiters in the nation by ESPN in 2010 and by Rivals in 2009.
His most recent collegiate coaching job was at UCF, where he served as the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach from 2007-11 after spending 2006 as the program’s director of high school relations. In 2010, the Knights won 11 games, captured the Conference USA championship and defeated Georgia in the Liberty Bowl for the first bowl win in program history. In his first season as a coach at UCF, he helped the Knights compile a 10-4 record and win the conference championship.
|2018||Florida State||Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers|
|2017||Oregon||Assistant Athletic Director for Football Recruiting Operations|
|2016||South Florida||Director of Player Personnel|
|2012-13||Edmonton Eskimos (CFL)||Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs|
|2007-11||UCF||Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs|
|2006||UCF||Director of High School Relations|
|2004-05||Duke||Associate Head Coach/Wide Receivers|
|2002-03||Stanford||Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator|
|2000-01||Georgia Tech||Wide Receivers|
|1984-93||Dunwoody High (Georgia)||Head Coach|
|1981-83||Dunwoody High (Georgia)||Assistant Coach|
Snyder comes to Tallahassee with 29 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 12 as either a head coach or defensive coordinator, and has been on staffs that have won four national championships. He has spent the previous three seasons as special teams coordinator at Michigan State, where he also coached defensive line and linebackers. During his time in East Lansing, the Spartans won 25 games, including the 2015 Big Ten championship, and played in the College Football Playoff.
“I’m so excited to be at Florida State and working for Coach Taggart,” Coach Snyder said. “Who wouldn’t want to coach at Florida State? I am looking forward to getting to know our current and future student-athletes and helping lead them during this important time in their lives.”
In 2017, Snyder’s defensive line helped Michigan State lead the Big Ten and rank second in the NCAA in rushing defense, allowing only 95.3 yards per game on the ground. The team also ranked seventh in the NCAA in total defense by holding opponents to 297.6 yards per game, 18th in third-down defense with a conversion percentage of only .328, 19th in the country in scoring defense, allowing an average of 20.0 points per game, and had the nation’s 17th-best passing efficiency defense rating.
Sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes thrived under Snyder’s tutelage in 2017. The former walk-on led the Spartans in tackles for loss with 14.5 and in sacks with 7.0, totals that also ranked sixth in the Big Ten. Willekes was a third-team All-Big Ten selection and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award. Sophomore defensive tackles Mike Panasiuk and Raequan Williams both earned honorable mention all-conference honors.
|2018-||Florida State||Defensive Ends|
|2017||Michigan State||Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Ends|
|2015-16||Michigan State||Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers|
|2012-14||Texas A&M||Defensive Coordinator|
|2010-11||South Florida||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers|
|2004||Ohio State||Defensive Coordinator|
|1996||Youngstown State||Defensive Coordinator/Secondary|
|1994-95||Youngstown State||Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Linebackers|
|1991-93||Youngstown State||Outside Linebackers|
Hampton joins Coach Taggart’s staff for the fourth different time as he was on staff at Oregon, South Florida and Western Kentucky. Hampton also has experience as a successful high school coach in Arkansas and Georgia.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to work with Coach Taggart again and be part of this amazing staff he has put together,” Coach Hampton said. “Florida State is one of the elite programs in college football history. I’m looking forward to winning championships and adding to the FSU legacy.”
Last season, Hampton was a defensive analyst at Oregon after serving two seasons as South Florida’s defensive backs coach and adding special teams duties in 2016. In 2016, Hampton helped lead a defense that forced 26 turnovers, the 18th-highest total in FBS, and returned three for touchdowns to tie for the 19th-highest total in FBS, as the Bulls won a school-record 11 games.
While he was at South Florida, he coached cornerback Deatrick Nichols to all-conference honors both seasons and punt returner D’Ernest Johnson to second-team all-conference in 2016 when his output included an 83-yard punt return touchdown that ranks as the second-longest in program history. Nichols, who recorded a team-high four interceptions in both of his seasons under Hampton, finished his career with 11 interceptions to tie for third on the Bulls’ all-time list. In 2015, USF made 17 interceptions, 13 by the defensive backs, to rank 14th in FBS.
|2018-||Florida State||Special Teams Coordinator|
|2016||South Florida||Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Backs|
|2015||South Florida||Defensive Backs|
|2013-14||Tift County High (Georgia)||Defensive Backs|
|2011-12||Western Kentucky||Defensive Backs|
|2009-10||Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs|
|2007-08||Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Defensive Backs|
|2004-05||Dumas High School (Arkansas)||Head Coach|
|2000-03||Warren High School (Arkansas)||Defensive Coordinator|