Bell, who played high school basketball at South San Francisco in the late 1990s, assisted Tony Martinelli for a number of years at SHP before heading over to Menlo.
"When he left it was a blow to the program,'' SHP all-schools athletic director Bret Simon said. "We're excited to have him come back. He's a terrific guy, I think he'll fit right in.''
Last season, when Menlo head coach Keith Larsen missed several weeks while undergoing hip surgery, Bell served as the team's interim head coach.
Now he gets a chance to run his own program from Day One, but coaching a girls team for a change.
"I don't think the approach changes much as far as coaching style,'' Bell said. "They're all young folks trying to find their way in the world.''
The SHP girls went 16-12 last season and 84-57 in Murphy's five years as head coach. The Gators play in the West Bay Athletic League, a ferociously strong league in girls basketball featuring state powers Pinewood, Eastside, Menlo and Priory.
"That's one of the most exciting parts of it, coming over to the girls side,'' Bell said. ``The challenge with the depth of the league. SHP has a great legacy as well.''
The Gators won five state championships in the 1990s, four in a row under Mike Ciardella from 1993-96, and one with Lamont Quattlebaum as coach in 1999.
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