Jon Bell is in his ninth season as head coach of the Saint Louis University cross country and track and field squads.
Since taking over the reins of both the cross country and track & field programs in 2008 – the latter of which was formed just a year prior his arrival – Bell has engineered the Billikens through an arduous but successful building process. With the help of ninth-year assistant coach Tim Bradley and second-year assistant coach Cody Halsey, the Billiken program is one that is succeeding at the regional, conference and national level.
Bell led the Billikens to one of their top cross country seasons in school history in 2014-15. The men’s team posted its best-ever finish in the A-10 meet, placing fourth overall. The women’s team, who were regionally ranked, matched its best-ever showing with a fourth-place finish as well.
On the track, eight Billikens earned All-Conference accolades in indoor and outdoor track. In addition, numerous school records were broken. The season culminated with three SLU student-athletes competing in four events at the NCAA prelims, the second-most entries by an Atlantic 10 Conference school.
While Bell has led the program, the Billikens have had 17 student-athletes earn All-Conference honors during the cross country season. On the track, 16 Billikens have captured A-10 individual titles in either indoor or outdoor track and field.
SLU enjoyed one if its most successful campaigns during the 2013-14 season. During the cross country season, a school-record five student-athletes earned All-Conference honors. The men’s team posted a seventh-place finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference meet, a program best. Additionally, the women’s team matched its best-ever showing with a fourth-place finish.
The Billikens totaled eight All-Conference honorees during the indoor and outdoor track and field campaign in 2013-14, including Margo Richardson who won the mile during the indoor season and the 1,500 meters during the outdoor campaign. In addition, a record five student-athletes represented the Billikens at the 2014 NCAA Division I Track and Field West Preliminary Round.
In addition to recognition on the track and course, Bell also stresses achievement in the classroom. During the 2014-15 school year, SLU earned spots on the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) 2015 Division I All-Academic Teams. The women’s program registered a 3.45 GPA during the 2014-15 academic year, which ranked 42nd in the nation. The men’s program had a GPA of 3.20, which was 42nd nationally. Additionally, the Billikens placed an Atlantic 10 Conference-leading three student-athletes on the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team: Annika Gomell, Emma Kidd and Isabel Leibfried. In addition, Neal Scolarici was SLU’s representative for an A-10 Postgraduate Scholarship in 2015.
Bell was named interim head coach of the Billikens in August of 2007 and was officially named head coach in the summer of 2008. Bell joined the Billikens as a volunteer assistant coach prior to the 2007 track and field seasons after spending one year as an assistant track and field coach at Utah Valley State. At UVSU, he was a recruiting coordinator for the NCAA Division I institution and assisted in all facets of the program. Bell worked with four student-athletes who broke school records, and one who claimed an NCAA Independent championship.
Bell was a graduate assistant coach at Emporia State (Kan.) University from 2003 to 2005. He coached two NCAA Division II All-American long jumpers and sent 10 student-athletes to the NCAA Division II National Championships. Bell began his coaching career at his alma mater, St. Mary's (Minn.) University, in 2002. He also served as head girls' track and field coach at Winona High School in 2003.
After graduating from St. Mary's with a bachelor's degree in 2002, he went on to earn a master's in health, physical education and recreation from Emporia State in 2005.