GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida head baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan announced the appointments of Brad Weitzel (pronounced White-sell) and Craig Bell as the Gators’ assistant coaches on Wednesday. The pair was most recently professional scouts for the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners, respectively.
Weitzel and Bell will work with UF’s position players, while O’Sullivan will focus his attention on the squad’s pitchers.
“I am excited that Brad and Craig are joining the staff,” O’Sullivan said. “They are as eager as I am to hit the ground running toward shaping our team for next season. They both bring a unique perspective through their involvement in professional baseball and their background here in the state of Florida. They are a great fit with my vision for the program. Their experience has afforded them a tremendous amount of contacts throughout the country.”
Named the Florida Diamond Club Scout of the Year in 1998, 1999 and 2004, Weitzel arrives in Gainesville after serving as the Florida Area Scout for the Minnesota Twins since 1991. Eleven of his signees have reached the Major Leagues, including Doug Mientkiewicz of the New York Yankees and A.J. Pierzynski of the Chicago White Sox. Weitzel was a coach for Minnesota’s organization in the Instructional League between 1998 and 2001 and was a pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Twins in 2000.
An assistant coach at the University of North Florida from 1987-91, Weitzel oversaw an Ospreys’ pitching staff which appeared in both the
1989 and 1991 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) World Series. UNF’s staff in 1988 registered a 2.98 earned run average over 64 games, lowest in the NAIA, and the following year’s squad compiled a 2.88 ERA on its way to a third-place finish at the championship tournament. The 1990 edition of Osprey hurlers led the nation with a 2.21 ERA and the ‘91 club notched another third-place showing at the World Series. Weitzel served as pitching coach for the Erie Sailors of the New York-Penn League in 1990 and guided the squad to a runner-up performance in the best-of-three championship series versus the Oneonta Yankees. He was also an assistant at Palm Beach (Fla.) Community College from 1984-87.
Weitzel earned his master’s degree in health education (1985) and his bachelor’s degree in health and physical education (1983) from the University of Georgia, where he was a reserve infielder for the Bulldogs under head coach Steve Webber in 1981-82. He received an associate of arts degree from Palm Beach in 1980.
Bell had been the Seattle Mariners’ Supervising Area Scout for Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina since 2000, after serving as an Associate Professional Scout in the Sunshine State for the Cincinnati Reds from 1993-2000. He was an assistant coach at Wellington High School in Palm Beach County, Fla., in 1999-2000 and helped the Wolverines to the Class 6A state championship.
Bell was the head coach of the Palm Beach Lakes High School baseball team between 1990-98 and also coached Palm Beach Post 12 in American Legion from 1990-95. He earned Coach of the Year accolades from The Palm Beach Post and The Sun Sentinel in both 1994 and 1995 and collected the Palm Beach County Coaches’ Association’s Class 6A top coaching honor in
1994 and 1997.
Bell earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of North Florida in 1989, and was a member of the Ospreys’ baseball team during the 1988 and 1989 seasons while Weitzel was an assistant coach at UNF. In addition, he was a two-year letterwinner on the diamond at Palm Beach Community College, where he earned his associate of arts degree in 1987.