Iowa's had to fill a few vacancies on their football coaching staff this offseason -- but they haven't looked very far to find faces to fill those roles. When Iowa linebackers coach Jim Reid departed Iowa to become the defensive coordinator at Boston College, we thought Iowa might replace him with an internal candidate. They did -- although not necessarily the one we were thinking at first. Filling Reid's role with an internal candidate (Seth Wallace) created a new vacancy on the coaching staff (recruiting coordinator/defensive assistant) that needed to be filled, though. And now we know who's filling that vacancy -- former Iowa player Kelvin Bell, who has been working as Iowa's director of on-campus recruiting the last two years. Iowa's certainly keeping things within the Hawkeye family this hiring cycle.
Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) February 26, 2016
That's not a complaint about Bell or Wallace, either. They've been instrumental in the modernization of Iowa's recruiting process over the last few seasons, a transformation that seems to be paying off with an improved class this season and the makings of a strong class next season. (Obviously, the efforts of Bell and Wallace are only part of the story there -- Iowa's on-field success and shiny new facilities have done a lot to give recruiting a shot in the arm, too.) Keeping them on-staff is an eminently understandable decision, especially for a coach that values continuity as much as Kirk Ferentz.
That said, it also feels like a bit of a missed opportunity to add a new face with some fresh perspectives to the mix. Kirk Ferentz overhauled the Iowa coaching staff a few seasons ago and while the early results were rough (2012) and Greg Davis' presence as offensive coordinator remains somewhat polarizing, that overhauled coaching staff also helped lead Iowa to a 12-0 regular season and their first Rose Bowl appearance in 25 years in 2015. The new-look coaching staff didn't lead to any dramatic changes in the way Iowa plays on offense (well, mostly) or defense, but they helped Iowa add some new wrinkles and freshen up a few areas that had grown stale. It might have been interesting to see what another new face or two could have done for Iowa's coaching staff this time.
But by all accounts Bell did a solid job as Iowa's director of on-campus recruiting and there's little reason to expect that he won't do just fine as Iowa's new recruiting coordinator, either. Bell will also have coaching responsibilities as a "defensive assistant," likely in the secondary helping out Phil Parker there. Bell was a defensive lineman as a player at Iowa and has primarily coached offensive line in his young coaching career (at Cornell College, Wayne State College, and Trinity International University), so how quickly he adjusts to coaching a brand-new position will be worth watching. It should help that Iowa returns a very experienced secondary in 2016, with three returning starters (Desmond King, Greg Mabin, and Miles Taylor) and an experienced back-up (Maurice Fleming).
Bell moving from director of on-campus recruiting to recruiting coordinator means that Iowa does have another vacancy to fill, but director of on-campus recruiting is a very entry-level position so I'd expect to see a recent graduate assistant probably fill that role. Congratulations to Bell on the promotion and for moving up the coaching ladder.