The decision comes a couple of weeks after UNC offensive coordinator Blake Anderson was named the head coach at Arkansas State.
Bell was offered the position of co-offensive coordinator at UNC, per sources, at a salary that nearly tripled his current rate. It was, however, significantly less than Anderson made the last two seasons in the offensive coordinator position at UNC.
According to a source, Bell is receiving a two-year contract at $225,000 per year in his new position at Arkansas State, which is less than what UNC offered. That source said that Bell's strong relationship with Anderson -- which dates back to when Bell played for Anderson at Middle Tennessee State -- played a major factor in his decision, as did the autonomy offered by Arkansas State.
For North Carolina, the decision not to offer Bell the sole offensive coordinator position or pay equal to what Anderson received was due to Bell's inexperience in a coaching and leadership position, another source said. Bell has three seasons on his resume of assistant coach experience. By comparison, Anderson has coached for two decades, including six seasons as a solo offensive coordinator at the FBS level.
Bell will join his brother, Luke Paschall, who is leaving his position as a UNC graduate assistant to head to Arkansas State to become the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator.
Despite previous reports, Bell did not come to a final decision until late Wednesday night, at which point he met with Fedora and informed him of his decision. Bell told the UNC players of his decision after the bowl game on Saturday.
Bell completed his second season as UNC's tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. He coached tight end Eric Ebron for two seasons in Chapel Hill. Ebron, who is projected as a first-round NFL draft pick next spring, set the ACC single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end and set the single-season school record for receptions by a tight end. With Bell as the recruiting coordinator, UNC's recruiting class was ranked No. 29 in the nation in 2013 by Scout.com, and its 2014 class is currently ranked No. 23.
The Dickson, Tenn. native came to UNC from Southern Miss with Larry Fedora, having served for a season at USM as an offensive grad assistant in 2010 and then wide receivers coach in 2011.
Prior to Southern Miss, Bell served one season as the quality control coach at Oklahoma State and two years as a graduate assistant at Memphis.
Bell, Ebron after the 2013 home finale