Quincy University vice president of intercollegiate athletics Marty Bell announced Thursday (Aug. 10) that he is retiring as men’s basketball head coach and will focus solely on running the University’s athletic department. Assistant coach Ryan Hellenthal has been promoted to the top spot, becoming the program’s 15th head coach.
Bell spent 14 seasons on the Quincy sideline, guiding the Hawks to five NCAA Tournaments. He is entering his 11th year leading the athletic department.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the men’s basketball coach at QU,” said Bell. “The memories and relationships here have transformed my life and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I’ve had over the past 14 years. As things have changed in my life over time, I recognized that it was time to turn my focus completely to my administrative role and allow another coach the same opportunity I was given.
“I want to thank the University, fans, players and coaches, and countless others who have supported my efforts during my tenure as coach. Without them, we would never have been able to achieve the level of consistent success that we have come to enjoy and experience.”
“I wish to congratulate Marty on a successful career as a basketball coach and thank him for the many contributions he has made to the QU program these past 14 years,” said Phil Conover, acting President. “Allowing Marty to focus all of his energy on being the athletic director will enable a wider use of his skill set that will greatly impact the long-range sustainability of the University.”
Bell’s Hawks posted a 240-168 (.588) record in his 14 seasons. He is the second-winningest coach in program history. In all, his players have earned 24 All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors and 13 players have signed professional contracts to continue their basketball careers, including three players from the 2016-17 squad.
In his final season, the Hawks went 25-7 and advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal. It matched the second-highest win total in program history. QU also won the GLVC West Division regular season title.
More impressive than the accomplishments on the floor are what his student-athletes have achieved in the classroom. Of the 56 players who completed their eligibility with the program, 55 of them (98 percent) earned their undergraduate degrees.
“One of the greatest victories achieved during my tenure has been the academic performance of our student-athletes,” Bell said. “While some of our players have gone on from QU to play professionally, the quality education and degree is what will prepare our players for life beyond college. The men’s basketball program and the rest of our athletic department boast academic success far above any successes reached on the court or field. It is the culture we have established off the court or field that produces the success on the court or field.”
In his 10 years in charge of the athletic department, Bell has overseen an increase in the number of student-athletes from 291 to more than 450 in the 2017-18 school year. The Williamsport, Pa. native engineered the return of the cross country program in 2010 and installed track & field as an intercollegiate sport in 2015.
The department has also seen tremendous success in competition and in the classroom. Quincy has finished in the top half of the GLVC Commissioner’s Cup standings in all 10 of Bell’s seasons, including top-three finishes in 2010-11 and 2011-12. In 2015-16, QU was fourth in those standings, and tied for sixth this past year.
In the classroom, Quincy has seen an increase in the number of Academic All-Conference honorees in each of the last five years, more than doubling the number from 79 in 2012 to 186 in 2017.
Bell has also overseen upgrades to every athletic facility on campus. In 2015, the QU football team returned to its historic home at QU Stadium, which took on a $4 million renovation that included a synthetic turf playing surface, bleachers that seat more than 2,000 spectators, a press box with five luxury suites, and a video board. Also included in the QU Stadium renovation was a new synthetic turf infield and a video board for the baseball program as the baseball side of the facility now has a brand-new concession stand, bullpens and batting cages.
The men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball, baseball and softball teams have also received locker room renovations. Baseball and softball also have a new indoor hitting facility to call home at North Campus that allows them to hone their crafts in the winter months.
In 2013, Bell helped spearhead an effort to place a synthetic turf surface on the soccer field at North Campus, renaming the facility Jack Mackenzie Field at Legends Stadium after the Hawks’ longtime legendary head coach. Pepsi Arena, home of the QU basketball and volleyball teams, received new video boards and scoreboards in 2013. The Mart Heinen Softball Complex will have a video board installed for the 2018 season.
As Bell steps down from his basketball post to solely direct the athletic department, Hellenthal will take over on the basketball side after serving as an assistant coach in 2016-17.
Hellenthal has 16 years of collegiate coaching experience at the NCAA Division I, Division II and NJCAA Division I levels. Before coming to QU prior to last season, Hellenthal served as an assistant coach at Central Missouri, helping the Mules reach the NCAA Tournament in 2015.
“I have known Coach Hellenthal for many years and was fortunate to have him on my coaching staff this past year,” said Bell. “His extensive background and experience, along with his ties to the Quincy community, make him a great fit to lead our men’s basketball program.”
“It is truly an honor to take over the reins of a program that has been led by great coaches from John Ortwerth and Sherrill Hanks to Steve Hawkins and Marty Bell,” said Hellenthal. “This is a fantastic job in one of the best Division II conferences in the country and I am forever grateful to Coach Bell, Phil Conover and the QU administration for their confidence in affording me the opportunity to lead this program in a place that is very special to me. I look forward to putting my stamp on the QU program and helping our student-athletes succeed on the court and in the classroom.”
Hellenthal was involved in all aspects of the QU program during the Hawks’ run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
The Hawks flourished on both ends of the floor last year, ranking fourth in the GLVC in scoring at 85.3 points per game while ranking second in the conference in field goal percentage (.513). QU was stingy defensively, giving up just 44.9 percent shooting and ranking third in the GLVC in 3-point defense.
“Ryan was instrumental to our program’s success last season,” Bell said. “His on-court presence and ability to develop strong relationships with our players were major factors in his seamless transition into the program.”
Prior to his stop at Central Missouri, the Quincy native spent four seasons on the staff at Long Beach State, serving as the director of basketball operations before being promoted to assistant coach. With Hellenthal on staff, the 49ers won three Big West championships and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2012. He coached nine All-Big West selections at Long Beach State.
“I want to continue to cultivate and provide a positive student-athlete experience at Quincy University and to succeed in the GLVC and at the national level,” Hellenthal said. “We will continue to recruit top student-athletes who will represent our program the right way and have a positive impact on the QU community and the city of Quincy.”
Hellenthal served as the director of basketball operations at Boise State from 2008-10, and before that had a stint as an assistant coach at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, which went 90-16 when he was on staff and was third in the NJCAA National Tournament in 2007. He was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Garden City (Kan.) Community College from 2002-05.
Hellenthal graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2002 with a degree in kinesiology.