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December 03, 2015

(STATS) - Kerwin Bell's nine seasons as Jacksonville coach were wildly successful on the field. He ruffled feathers off it, however, and the school reacted Thursday by saying it will not renew his contract.

Bell, whose contract will expire at the end of the month, posted a 66-35 record with the Dolphins, including 52-19 in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League. But the Dolphins officially vacated 30 of those league wins from 2010-14 due to violations against the PFL's need-based financial aid guidelines.

Discord rested between Bell and the university over the future of the program. Often outspoken, the 50-year-old former Florida Gators quarterback publicly favored the program pursuing the scholarship level, which would prompt a change in conferences, neither of which has been supported by the university.

"We had a great run here and I'm grateful for the opportunity and leave with many great memories," Bell told the Florida Times-Union. "They feel like I wanted too much out of this program. I don't know why you would want a coach not to want a lot.

"I was trying to build a program and make everybody proud of it. That's why my expectations were so high."

The university released a statement from athletic Dr. Donnie Horner.

"We have great respect for Coach Bell and thank him for his contributions to the football program. Obviously, he has taken us to a very high level during his nine years here and for that we are very appreciative. Coach Bell has indicated a strong desire to see the program go to a full scholarship model and we are 100 percent committed to playing FCS non-scholarship football in the Pioneer Football League for the foreseeable future. We wish Coach Bell the best in his future endeavors."

Bell led Jacksonville to an outright PFL title in 2008, when the Dolphins finished 9-4 overall. Their vacated wins in 2010 and 2014 cost additional titles and they would have qualified for the FCS playoffs had they been eligible last year. They finished 9-2 this season, which was highlighted by a 20-14 non-league win at Delaware.

Bell's son Kade just finished his career as the Dolphins' four-year starting quarterback. The younger Bell was the PFL first-team quarterback as a junior, but his senior season was stopped early by injury, which also happened during his redshirt freshman campaign in 2012.

School officials have scheduled a news conference on campus Tuesday to discuss the future of the program.

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