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IPFW AD off to new school

Bell taking same job at W. Illinois


Tommy Bell, who had been the athletic director at IPFW since 2007, is leaving for the same position at Western Illinois University.

Announcements were made by both schools Monday afternoon.

Bell will begin his new job Aug. 12, according to Western Illinois, which is also in the Summit League for all sports except football.

“(My wife) Laurie and I look so forward to being a part of this great institution,” Bell said at his introductory news conference, according to Western Illinois, enrollment 12,205.

“We are very excited and are deeply honored to be chosen to have this opportunity. Most importantly, my administration is going to focus on Western Illinois’ four values that they stress here at the institution: academic excellence, educational opportunity, social responsibility, and personal growth.”

Under Bell’s guidance, IPFW (enrollment 14,000) teams earned six NCAA tournament berths, five regular-season Summit League championships, 186 Summit League Players of the Week, 152 All-Summit League selections, 13 Players of the Year, six Coaches of the Year and three Academic All-Americans.

In 2012-13, IPFW athletes had a school-record 3.18 combined GPA – IPFW’s 10th straight year with a combined GPA over 3.0.

“I am excited to be starting a new chapter in my career at Western Illinois University,” Bell said in a statement through IPFW.

“However, the new step means leaving a great institution at IPFW. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to succeed at IPFW, particularly from Chancellor Vicky Carwein and vice chancellor for financial affairs Walt Branson. My family and I have made many great friends at IPFW, and wish the university and the athletic department nothing but the best going forward.”

Bell was one of three finalists for the job at Western Illinois, along with China Jude, the assistant vice president and athletics director at Queens College in New York, and Ken Ralph, director of athletics at Colorado College.

Bell was the last of the three to interview, finishing that task Thursday.

Western Illinois’ former athletics director, Tim Van Alstine, resigned in May.

“We wanted someone with Division I experience, someone who knew our conferences and the nuances within those conferences,” Western Illinois vice president Dr. Gary Biller said through his university. “We wanted someone who was a good budget manager, someone who could work with coaches from 20 different sports, and we wanted someone who could help us raise money.”

A search for Bell’s replacement begins immediately and an interim athletics director will be named in the next few weeks.

“Tommy has been with IPFW for six years and in that time has helped usher Athletics into a new era with marked successes including a record 2012-2013 season,” Carwein said in a statement. “We wish him the best as he takes on a new role and are looking forward to many more athletics department successes.”

Bell is a 1979 graduate of Virginia Tech, and he earned a master’s degree from Radford in 1987. He served as head athletic trainer at Radford from 1980 to 1984, and was the athletic trainer for the Philadelphia Phillies’ AAA affiliate, the Portland Beavers, from 1984 to 1987.

He worked from 1990 to 1999 in the athletic development office at Northern Illinois.

He then went to Southern Illinois, spending six years in the constituent development office for the athletics department.