QUINCY -- Marty Bell sees several similarities between his coaching career and the path Quincy native Ryan Hellenthal has taken.
That's one of the reasons Bell is ready to turn the Quincy University men's basketball coach over to his top assistant.
Bell announced Thursday morning he is retiring from coaching and will remain at QU as the vice president of intercollegiate athletics, concentrating his efforts solely on administrative duties. Hellenthal is being promoted to head coach after 17 years as an assistant coach at all collegiate levels.
A press conference has been scheduled for Friday for a formal announcement of both moves.
"I have known Coach Hellenthal for many years and was fortunate to have him on my coaching staff this past year," said Bell, who spent 19 years as an assistant coach before getting the opportunity to coach at QU. "His extensive background and experience, along with his ties to the Quincy community, make him a great fit to lead our men's basketball program."
Bell, 53, spent 14 seasons coaching the Hawks, enjoying his greatest success last winter when QU finished 25-7 and reached the second round of the NCAA Division II national tournament. The 25 victories tied for the second most in program history, and the Great Lakes Valley Conference West Division championship was the third division crown under Bell.
His teams compiled a 240-186 record, with 24 players earning All-GLVC honors and 13 players signing professional contracts, including three from the 2016-17 team.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the men's basketball coach at QU," Bell said. "The memories and relationships here have transformed my life, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I've had over the past 14 years."
Equally significant has been the academic success of the Hawks. During Bell's tenure, 56 players completed their eligibility at QU with 55 of them earning their undergraduate degree.
"One of the greatest victories achieved during my tenure has been the academic performance of our student-athletes," Bell said. "While some of our players have gone on from QU to play professionally, the quality education and degree is what will prepare our players for life beyond college."
Bell added the duties of athletic director in 2007.
QU had 291 student-athletes in 2006-07. That number will be more than 450 in 2017-18. Under Bell's direction, the football program returned to QU Stadium after a $4 million renovation of the venerable facility, turf fields were installed at Legends Stadium and the baseball side of QU Stadium, and new locker rooms were built for the baseball, softball and volleyball programs.
QU also has finished in the top half of the GLVC Commissioner's Cup each of the last 10 seasons.
"As things have changed in my life over time, I recognized that it was time to turn my focus completely to my administrative role and allow another coach the same opportunity I was given," Bell said.
Hellenthal, 37, earned his opportunity.
He was born in Quincy and is the son of Mike Hellenthal, who is in the Quincy High School Sports Hall of Fame for his success as the head baseball coach and an assistant basketball coach. He returned to his roots last fall when he joined the QU staff.
"It is truly an honor to take over the reins of a program that has been led by great coaches from John Ortwerth and Sherrill Hanks to Steve Hawkins and Marty Bell," Hellenthal said. "This is a fantastic job in one of the best Division II conferences in the country."
Before coming to QU, Hellenthal served as an assistant coach at Central Missouri, helping the Mules reach the NCAA Division II national tournament in 2015. He spent four seasons on the staff at Long Beach State, serving as the director of basketball operations before being promoted to assistant coach. With Hellenthal on staff, the 49ers won three Big West Conference championships and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
Hellenthal served as the director of basketball operations at Boise State from 2008-10. He also was an assistant coach at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College and Garden City (Kan.) Community College.
"I want to continue to cultivate and provide a positive student-athlete experience at Quincy University and to succeed in the GLVC and at the national level," Hellenthal said. "We will continue to recruit top student-athletes who will represent our program the right way and have a positive impact on the QU community and the city of Quincy."
The Hellenthal File
Here is a look at how Ryan Hellenthal made his way to Quincy University:
Assistant coach, Garden City (Kan.) Community College, 2002-05
Assistant coach, Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, 2005-08
Director of basketball operations, Boise State University, 2008-10
Director of basketball operations, Long Beach State University, 2010-13
Assistant coach, Long Beach State University, 2013-14
Assistant coach, Central Missouri University, 2014-16
Assistant coach, Quincy University, 2016-17