HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss football coach Larry Fedora announced Wednesday afternoon the promotions of Walt Bell and Robert Matthews to full-time offensive coaching staff positions, while current assistant coach Barney Farrar will transition to a new position on the staff.
The hirings are subject to approval by the IHL Board of Supervisors.
Bell, a native of Dickson, Tenn., was an offensive graduate assistant on the Golden Eagle staff last season overseeing the tight ends, while Mathews, of Duluth, Ga., served as a volunteer administrative assistant who helped with the offensive line coach and Farrar of Kossuth, Miss., served as a wide receivers coach. Bell will coach the receivers and Matthews will oversee the tight ends as well as assist Chris Kapilovic with the offensive line, and become the team’s recruiting coordinator. Farrar will become the Director of High School Relations and Player Development on the staff.
Bell came to Southern Miss after spending a season as a quality control coach at Oklahoma State. Prior to his stint at OSU, Bell worked two years as a graduate assistant at Memphis following his playing days at Middle Tennessee. He also worked a season at Louisiana-Lafayette.
He earned both his bachelor’s degree (criminal justice administration, 2005) and master’s degree (sports management, 2006) from MTSU.
Last season, Bell coached the tight ends and first-team All-Conference USA performer Johdrick Morris, who ranked first on the team in catches with 50 and second on the squad in receiving yards with 684. The tight end corps also accounted for seven of the team’s 24 receiving touchdowns.
“Walt Bell is a young coach that has put in his time by working extremely hard,” said Fedora. “He oversaw our tight ends last season and has proven to be a very bright coach and a tremendous asset to this program.”
Prior to coming to Southern Miss, Matthews spent four seasons at Oklahoma State. He spent the 2006 campaign as the Coordinator of Football Operations and then was elevated to Director of Recruiting for the 2007-08 seasons. In 2009, Matthews joined the full-time staff as quarterbacks coach. During his time in Stillwater, the Cowboys reached three bowl games and was a major reason why OSU landed Top 25 recruiting classes for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 campaigns.
In addition to his recruiting efforts, Matthews oversaw the walk-on program and handled other internal operations within the football program while the Director of Recruiting.
Before arriving in Stillwater, Matthews spent seven years as a high school coach in the state of Georgia. He was the head coach at Shiloh High in Snellville, for three seasons, where he guided his team to playoff runs in the state’s largest classification and also spearheaded a facility upgrade that included a new strength center locker room and coaches offices.
His other high school stops included North Gwinnett (2001-02) as offensive coordinator, Camden County (2000) as wide receivers/special teams coordinator and Oconee County (1999) as tight ends/special teams coordinator.
He played three seasons at the University of Georgia (1996-98) and was a member of the Outback and Peach Bowl champions during his tenure. In addition, he was a three-time member of the SEC academic honor roll and earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in science education.
Matthews, whose wife’s named is Laura, helped the Golden Eagle line coach which started an offense that gained a school-record 5,894 yards and averaged over 200 yards in both rushing and passing.
“Robert came in and did a great job in assisting our offensive line last season and has experience in not only coaching on the collegiate and high school level, but with recruiting as well” said Fedora. “His hire, as well as Walt’s, allows us to not miss a beat on offense as both guys know the offensive system. Both guys will be loyal to Southern Miss and it is nice to be able to reward guys who have worked hard for you.”
Farrar, who has been on Fedora’s staff since 2008, will play a bigger role in his new position by leading the program’s player development as well as help with recruiting efforts for the team.
“Barney has shown that he has the abilities to create unique relationships with coaches not only in this state but all throughout the Southeast as well,” Fedora said. “He has also developed unique relationships with these players and we are excited to have him running our player development program full-time and taking advantage of his abilities.”