TCU director of intercollegiate athletics Chris Del Conte announced the hiring of Eric Bell as the Horned Frogs’ new head women’s soccer coach on Dec. 17, 2011. Bell is just the third women’s soccer coach in TCU history.
“We are very excited to welcome Eric Bell and Ryan Higginbotham to the TCU family,” Del Conte said. “Eric has done an unbelievable job at Florida State and is a rising star in the collegiate soccer coaching ranks. Ryan is very well respected locally with club soccer and is a great first hire by Eric.
“Eric’s recruiting efforts have been instrumental in the success of a Florida State program that’s a fixture on the national scene. With the momentum we have at TCU, the facility upgrades that include the Jane Justin Field House at Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium, Big 12 membership and the great city of Fort Worth, we have a lot to offer prospective student-athletes. Eric is a perfect fit to guide our women’s soccer program.”
Bell spent the last six seasons with the Seminoles. After arriving as an assistant coach in 2006, he was promoted to associate head coach in 2008. Bell was Florida State’s recruiting coordinator his entire tenure in Tallahassee.
As recruiting coordinator, Bell made school history as the 2007 class earned its highest national ranking. The Seminoles were recognized by Soccer Buzz with the nation’s second-best recruiting class, while grabbing the top spot in the Southeast Region. At the time, both rankings were the highest garnered in program history. Of the 11 freshmen, five ranked in the top 150 by Soccer Buzz while Erin McNulty and Sanna Talonen ranked among the nation’s top international recruits.
In 2008, Bell once again made school history as Soccer Buzz awarded Florida State with the top recruiting class in the nation. The publication ranked six freshmen in the top 40 with five receiving PARADE All-America honors. Tiffany McCarty was recognized for her outstanding season, becoming the first Seminole in school history to earn ACC Freshman of the Year honors. The accolades continued to pour in as Tori Huster and Casey Short joined McCarty as Freshman All-Americans.
The 2009 class was ranked as the fourth-best recruiting class in the Atlantic Coast Conference by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
“I’m thrilled to be the new coach at TCU,” Bell said. “I would like to thank Chris Del Conte and the rest of the search committee for affording me this wonderful opportunity. I believe everything is in place to take TCU to the next level of women’s intercollegiate soccer. I am very excited and can’t wait to get started.”
Since his arrival in Tallahassee, Bell helped guide the Seminoles to three College Cup appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2011, including a berth in the school’s first national championship game in 2007. In his time at FSU, the Seminoles compiled an overall record of 106-31-13, highlight by the 2011 ACC tournament title. Bell has coached the 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy winner, a pair of national Freshmen of the Year, 18 All-Americans, the 2008 ACC Freshman of the Year, 2007 and 2009 ACC Offensive Players of the Year and a handful of student-athletes who have competed internationally.