Brien Bell Named ACC Coach of the Year

first_img Published on December 11, 2019 at 1:13 pm Contact Eli: Following Syracuse’s sixth ACC Championship in seven years, Brien Bell was named ACC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.After taking over for Chris Fox in 2018, Bell’s squad faltered last season and dropped their first ever ACC Championship. This year, the Orange were able to rebound, despite an injury to their top star, Aidan Tooker, and recapture the conference title. This is the first such award for Bell, but the sixth for SU’s program, with Fox earning the honor five times prior.At the ACC Championships, the men won by a slim margin of five points ahead of second-place No. 20 Notre Dame. Nathan Henderson, Joe Dragon, Noah Beveridge, Nathan Lawler, Kevin James and Dominic Hockenbury all finished top-20 and were able to take home All-ACC honors.Following that race, Syracuse finished in second place at the NCAA Northeast Regionals to earn an automatic bid for the NCAA Cross Country National Championships. In Terre Haute, Indiana, the men struggled in pouring rain, ultimately ending their season with a 27th place finish. Despite the negative result, SU can look back on 2019 as a positive development year.Without Tooker, SU turned to their younger runners to fill the void and had relative success in doing so. Redshirt sophomore Nathan Henderson led the Orange in ninth at the ACC Championships and turned in another strong performance at Regionals, finishing 10th. Redshirt freshmen Lawler and Beveridge also had an instant impact at the back of the lineup, totaling three top-21 finishes between them at ACCs and Regionals. While they could not replicate that same success at the NCAA Championships the next week, Bell said he never expects young runners to perform well in those types of races.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLooking ahead to next season, the Orange will look to return almost all of their top seven, apart from James. With the younger, back half of the lineup having gained crucial experience and with their leader returning from injury, Syracuse will hope to compete again in 2020.“And next year, I am the only guy from the top 7 that leaves,” James said. “You add Aidan in and then they are going to be pretty good next year. They are going to have a good chance to get back on the podium at Nationals and maybe fighting for a win.”Bell will resume coaching duties for Syracuse in January with the Track and Field teams. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img