Pitt names Western Carolina's Kade Bell as offensive coordinator

Pittsburgh has hired Western Carolina offensive coordinator Kade Bell to the same position, the school announced on Sunday.

"I couldn't be more excited for the opportunity that Coach [Pat] Narduzzi and Director of Athletics Heather Lyke have given me to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh," Bell said in a statement released by the school. "Great players, traditions and championships are what this program is all about. I can't wait to get to work and be part of something special in the city of Pittsburgh. Hope our fans are ready to play fast and score faster."

Narduzzi fired former offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. on Nov. 26, a day after the program finished a 3-9 season (2-6 in the ACC), fighting through a pair of four-game losing streaks along the way. Cignetti was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the last two seasons.

Bell led a top-10 offense at the FCS level for Western Carolina, where he was hired in the spring of 2021. This season, the Catamounts' offense proved to be potent, averaging 37.6 points per game on the way to finishing 7-4. Bell first two seasons saw the offense average 31.9 points (2022) and 32.4 points (2021), respectively, during his first two years calling plays.

"Kade's offensive approach -- relentlessly fast and aggressive -- is everything a defensive coordinator hates to face and the type of system our players will absolutely love," Narduzzi said in a statement. "He's an incredibly creative play caller who is widely regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in the country. Beyond 'X's and O's,' Kade understands and greatly values relationship-building with his players and fellow coaches. On and off the field, Kade Bell will make us better."

Bell's charge will be to reinvigorate an offense that struggled mightily as the program finished with its worst record since 1998, when a Walt Harris-coached team went 2-9 overall and 0-7 in the Big East.

The Panthers' offense finished last in the ACC in both total offense (317.9 yards per game) and scoring offense (20.2 points per game) as it struggled to find any traction, with three different quarterbacks -- Phil Jurkovec, Christian Veilleux and Nate Yarnell -- all seeing time under center.