By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech men's basketball head coach John Pelphrey announced another addition to his staff with the hiring of Andre Bell as an assistant coach.
Bell comes to Tech after spending five of the past seven years as an assistant and associate head coach at Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Mo.
"I'm thankful, first of all, for having good friends in this business," Bell said, "because it was through communication with them that I found out about this opportunity. When I heard about Coach Pelphrey, it was one of those deals where when you get a chance to work for a really good guy, a really good person – we all know his pedigree and what he has done basketball wise – it gave me a chance to move from one really good coach to another great coach. It was a best of both worlds scenario. When you get into this business, you want to make sure you work with good people. Basketball is always the connection, but working with good people is always part of my plan and it was a no-brainer for me to want to be in this position. I'm very blessed to be here."
A native of Chicago, Bell had two stints coaching with Pat Smith at Moberly CC, including the most recent run from 2016-19 as his associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. In that span, the Greyhounds captured three straight MCCAC titles and Region 16 Conference championships. Bell helped lead Moberly to a 28-7 mark this past season, including a Region 16 Tournament crown, a District 4 championship and an appearance in the NJCAA Sweet 16.
The Greyhounds finished the 2017-18 campaign ranked No. 11 nationally by the NJCAA with a 26-5 overall record.
"We are so excited to add Andre Bell to our coaching staff," Pelphrey expressed. "He is a phenomenal young coach who has tremendous experience of over 10 years. He played and coached with Pat Smith, who is a coaching legend and known for teaching and developing players toughness, the game of basketball and doing things the right way. Having played and coached for him has really helped shape and mold him into a young and experienced coach. Adding him to our staff will not only provide experience, but someone who is a relentless relationship builder through the recruiting process and player development and someone to mentor our young guys about leadership and life."
Prior to his return to Moberly, Bell spent two seasons in his hometown of Chicago as the assistant varsity boys basketball coach at St. Rita High School. During that time, the Mustangs won a Catholic League Conference title and an IHSA Regional championship with a 26-4 record in 2014-15.
"When I first came to Cookeville to visit the University and meet everyone, the energy I got came from the people," Bell said of what excited him the most of the opportunity. "That's what made me really interested in the position, just thinking about what I can do from any energy level and what I can put into this place from the standpoint of the community, the environment, the people, the coaching staff, the players. I want to be a part of something great and I think Coach Pel is on to something very special here."
In his first stint at Moberly, from 2012-14, Bell served as an assistant coach with Smith, helping guide the Mustangs to a pair of runner-up finishes in the Region 16 Conference.
A disciple of Smith's, Bell also was a member of his staff at Trinity Valley Community College from 2008-12. In that time, the Cardinals posted a 91-37 mark, ranking ninth nationally by the NJCAA in the 2010-11 campaign after capturing a conference title.
Bell played for Coach Smith at Bemidji State University, lettering three seasons from 2005-08. Bell graduated from Bemidji with a bachelor's degree in sports management in 2008. He has two sons, Andre Jr. and Keandre.
"It's a process and will take some time, but in due time, this place can be special," Bell said. "I think we have the right leader for it and we're all on board to try and help him make a culture, make our guys believe in what we consider the mindset. That matters and you want to make sure you lay that foundation because this place can be special as proven with the history before."