Emma Heckendorn scores TCU’s first-ever NCAA Tournament goal
TCU advanced on PKs by a 5-3 score
TCU advanced on PKs by a 4-2 score
TCU wraps up a third place finish in the Big 12
Horned Frogs blanked for just the third time this season
"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."
The promises made upon his arrival at TCU came to fruition in Bell's fifth season on campus. For the first time in program history, the Horned Frogs posted an undefeated record (8-0-1) in non-conference play. A furious run in the Big 12 Tournament that saw the Horned Frogs reach the championship game for the second time under his tutelage lent itself to an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. In addition to history being made as TCU earned its first-ever berth in the postseason tournament, the Frogs were selected as a first-round host.
Emma Heckendorn, Michelle Prokof and Cachet Lue all earned postseason accolades on a team that was one of the best statistically in program history. Offensively, the Frogs tallied the second-most assists (40), points (114) and tied for fifth all-time in goals scored (37). Defensively, the Frogs tied for the most shutouts in a single season (8) and third all-time with a 1.04 goals against average.
For the fourth time in four years under Bell, TCU qualified for the 2015 Big 12 Tournament. The Horned Frogs raced out to an 8-4 record and closed the season with a school-record four consecutive ties to post an overall 8-7-4 record, including a 2-3-3 mark in Big 12 play. The team posted the fourth-lowest GAA at 1.06, while posting the fifth-highest points total (97) in program history.
At the conclusion of the regular season, TCU had a trio of representatives named all-conference. Bobbi Clemmer became the first Horned Frog since Jordan Calhoun to be a two-time first-team all-conference performer. Additionally, Michelle Prokof and Emma Heckendorn were named second-team all-conference.
The 2014 season showed more signs of growth as the Horned Frogs vaulted to a 7-3 record and an RPI ranking in the top 50. TCU ultimately earned its third straight berth in the Big 12 Championships. Junior Bobbi Clemmer continued to earn respect from the Big 12 community, earning second-team all-conference accolades. Newcomer Ryan Williams, switching to a different position for the first time in her career, also blossomed under the coaching staff's tutelage. She was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer squad for her efforts in helping TCU post six shutouts and a 0.96 goals against average.
A talented influx of freshman in the fall of 2013 set the stage for big things to come. Freshman Michelle Prokof paced the team offensively en route to earning second-team all-conference accolades. Sophomore Bobbi Clemmer earned first-team all-conference accolades.
TCU again qualified for the Big 12 Tournament, improving its seeding as the Frogs finished seventh in the standings with two conference wins.
In his first season on campus, Bell and company gave Frog fans a glimpse of things to come. His immediate impact was felt on the defensive side of the ball as the Horned Frogs tied the school record with eight shutouts. Freshman defender Bobbi Clemmer earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Newcomer team, playing every minute of the season up until an injury in the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship Tournament in San Antonio.
He had the Frogs playing their best soccer at the right time as they blazed a trail to the championship game of the Big 12 Championship Tournament. Qualifying as the eighth-seed in the tourney, Bell's squad upended the Big 12 Conference champions, West Virginia, by a 2-0 score. In the semifinals, it took penalty kicks to decide the team to advance as TCU and Texas battled to a 0-0 score after two overtimes. The defensive star of the tournament, Vittoria Arnold, outdueled the Texas goalkeeper and the Frogs advanced to the championship game against Baylor.
Prior to coming to TCU, Bell spent the previous 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."
Upon 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.
In overseeing the defensive scheme, Bell led the Seminoles to a sub-1.00 goals against average in five of his six seasons en route to a 0.83 GAA during that span. The Seminole backline has averaged over 12 shutouts a season under Bell, reaching double digits all six years while posting a school-record 14 shutouts in both 2006 and 2008. In 2008, FSU set the school record for the fewest goals allowed (15) and the lowest goals against average (0.63). In 2010, the Seminoles gave up a league-low five goals during conference play, while leading the ACC in shutouts with 13.
Prior to his arrival in Tallahassee, Bell spent four years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Illinois. In 2005, he was named NSCAA Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year while working at one of the top soccer programs in the Big Ten.
With Bell on staff at Illinois, the Fighting Illini had tremendous success on the field and on the recruiting trail. After going 9-11-1 in 2002, his first year with the Illini, the team went 16-4-2 the very next season en route to posting an overall record of 44-17-7 from 2003-05. During that span, the Fighting Illini advanced to three straight NCAA Tournaments. In 2004, Illinois made school history advancing to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.
As recruiting coordinator, Bell attracted some of the nation's top talent to Champaign. His 2005 recruiting class was ranked 23rd by Soccer Buzz and his 2006 class was ranked ninth with six signees among the top 200 in the nation.
Bell also served as head coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2000 in addition to being an assistant at the University of Illinois and Ashland University in Ohio.
Bell is a United States Soccer Federation A Licensed coach and a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He attended the College of Wooster where he earned a B.A. in 1992. As a player, he led his team to two NCAA Division III tournament appearances in 1989 and 1990 and to a North Coast Athletic Conference title in 1989. He was voted the team's best offensive player following the 1991 season.
Bell and his wife, April, were married in May 2001. They have two children: Malena and Cameron.
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