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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Former Gonzaga guard Gary Bell accepts assistant coaching role at Northern Arizona

Sept. 7, 2022 Updated Fri., Sept. 9, 2022 at 9:52 a.m.

Former Gonzaga guard Gary Bell Jr. prepares to pass the ball during a recent practice at Northern Arizona University. After spending three seasons at Gonzaga as a graduate assistant and Coordinator of Basketball Administration, Bell Jr. accepted an assistant coaching role at NAU.  (Courtesy/Stayson Isobe)
Former Gonzaga guard Gary Bell Jr. prepares to pass the ball during a recent practice at Northern Arizona University. After spending three seasons at Gonzaga as a graduate assistant and Coordinator of Basketball Administration, Bell Jr. accepted an assistant coaching role at NAU. (Courtesy/Stayson Isobe)

Gary Bell Jr. returned to Gonzaga in 2019 to become a graduate assistant for Mark Few. After three years under the tutelage of his former coach, the 29-year-old is taking the lessons he learned at his alma mater elsewhere.

The former Gonzaga guard who spent three seasons in Spokane as a graduate assistant and more recently, the Bulldogs’ Coordinator of Basketball Administration, has accepted a full-time assistant coaching role at Northern Arizona University, the Lumberjacks announced Wednesday.

“Coach Bell brings that winning edge that every program wants,” NAU coach Shane Burcar said in a school press release. “He started for four years at Gonzaga, played professionally and he has the credibility from coach Mark Few and coach Tommy Lloyd. He has recommendations from two National Coach of the Years who coached two No. 1 seeds in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. I can already tell that he’s going to be a great fit with us and he opens up recruiting ties in the West Coast.”

According to NAU’s release, Bell will work primarily with the Lumberjack guards and the team’s offense. 

“I’m extremely excited to be here at NAU,” Bell said in the release. “The culture that (coach Burcar) is trying to build here is where I came from; the family atmosphere and being a hard worker to get better every day.”

Bell Jr. returned to Gonzaga in 2019, recruited by former Bulldogs assistant Tommy Lloyd, who thought the former guard would fit in well as a graduate assistant after playing professionally in Poland, France and Greece.

One of the guards Bell will work with at NAU is Lloyd’s son, Liam, a Gonzaga Prep graduate who spent the last two seasons at Grand Canyon University. Tommy Lloyd is entering his second as the head coach at Arizona.

“Playing for (coach Few) for four years, leaving and then coming back to start my coaching career, I learned a lot from those guys,” Bell said. “Picking their brain every day prepared me for this task at NAU.”

In four seasons at Gonzaga, Bell, a knockdown 3-point shooter and elite defender, started in 124 of 135 games. The Tacoma native shot 41% from the 3-point line during his GU career and was named West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 while leading the Zags to the Elite Eight.

Bell’s 1,292 career points still rank inside the program’s top-30. When his career concluded, Bell’s 135 games were the sixth-most in program history and his 116 victories ranked No. 2. He made 219 total 3-pointers, which ranked No. 7 in program history when his college career culminated.

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