Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Bell and JU: A Messy Split

At JU, the dynamic wasn’t working between Head Football Coach Kerwin Bell and the current university president Tim Cost. Bell had been hired by the previous administration and was asked to build the program with a long-term eye on stepping it up into a different conference and offering scholarships. He approached his job every day with the idea of improving the program, winning games, raising money, and perhaps someday, maybe 10 more years down the road, the Dolphins would make the move to scholarship football.

No matter which side of the discussion you side with, both have merit. At this point Cost wants to keep the program the same and since he’s in charge, it’ll stay the same. No problem there but the Dolphins handling of the situation was unnecessarily messy.

Bell hasn’t been shy about where he was driving the Dolphins football program and with an 18-4 record in the last two years, he was able to talk with local JU supporters about funding the program with scholarships in mind.

So Bell and Cost were at cross-purposes. You’d think those two, along with Athletic Director Dr. Donnie Horner would have met sometime last summer, knowing Kerwin’s contract was up this year and talked about the future of the program. They could have come to an agreement that they saw the future differently, had Bell coach through this year and parted ways.

Instead, just under two weeks since finishing the 2015 season 9-2, knowing they didn’t have a post-season in their future, Bell was told the school wasn’t thinking about scholarships and his services were no longer needed.

Finding a job shouldn’t be hard for a coach with Bell’s record and his reputation for being an offensive guru. The next coach at JU will know that the program is what it is, which is fine, a nice Saturday afternoon on the river against like-minded schools.

But just don’t ask, “What might have been?”

On another note, it was pretty obvious when Mark Richt’s name started being linked to the University of Miami head-coaching job that he wasn’t going to stick around and coach the Georgia Bulldogs for long. Richt had the staff Christmas Party scheduled in Athens for December 14th but sent out an email this morning that the party had been cancelled. Of course it was, since he wasn’t going to be in the building any longer after taking the Miami job on Saturday morning. Richt then told his team and the ‘Dogs will be led by Bryan Clendon who’s currently the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach in Athens.