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Walt Bell out at UMass

Bell lost to Rhode Island on Saturday to drop to 2-23 on the job.

UMass has fired head coach Walt Bell and defensive coordinator Tommy Restivo, the program announced Sunday. 

Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Alex Miller, a 2007 UMass grad, will serve as interim head coach for the club's final three games. The Minutemen play their home finale against Maine on Saturday before finishing with road trips to Army and New Mexico State. 

The move comes a day after the Minutemen fell to FCS Rhode Island, 35-22. UMass is 1-8 this season, its one victory coming against another team that fired its head coach in UConn. Prior to that, UMass had lost 16 games in a row.

Playing in an area without much native FBS talent, without a conference, surplus funding or a history of FBS success with which to draw from, UMass plays under some of the most difficult circumstances in major college football. 

But it's tough to survive a 2-23 record, no matter the circumstances. 

As a program, UMass won an FCS national championship in 1998 and won the Colonial Athletic Association as recently as 2007, but the moments of success have been rare and fleeting since joining the top division in 2012. In fact, the high water marks are back-to-back 4-8 seasons in 2017-18, which got Mark Whipple fired and Bell hired. 

Pete Thamel tweeted the news shortly before UMass announced the move.