John Bellino has taken the first step toward stepping away from the sidelines at St. Bede Academy.
Bellino, a fixture of both the baseball and football Academy fields, told the BCR earlier this month he would resign as the head baseball coach. He anticipates doing the same following this fall’s football season.
Bellino, 64, who will continue teaching PE and health at the Academy, joked all of a sudden he was 64 years old and “wondering what I was still doing here.”
But at the same time, he’s not quite ready to hang it up for good.
“I feel good and I think I can still do it and the kids respond well, so I’m going to keep going at least for a while,” he said.
All told, Bellino, a 1968 graduate of St. Bede, has coached and taught for 39 years at his alma mater. He took over as head baseball coach in 1979, posting a 625-347-3 record with 12 regional and one State championship.
St. Bede athletic director Tom McGunnigal, who played for Bellino’s state championship baseball team in 1988 and later coached under him on the football staff, said, you don’t replace a John Bellino.
“You etch his legacy in granite and it becomes a standard to achieve,” McGunnigal said. “He has meant more to me than he will ever know. First as a player and what he helped me achieve and my teammates accomplish is beyond every memory I could have in sport. And then as a mentor coach when I started at St. Bede, what I learned and have modeled in my own coaching – maybe not to where what I do is easily identifiable, but the study of a game and an opponent and how to approach daily preparation.
“Those lessons are priceless and many of the things I value that I got from coach Bellino.”
The highlight of Bellino’s baseball career is the 1988 state championship. He took the Bruins back to the state finals four years later. They reached the sectional title in 2013.
On the gridiron, Bellino’s Bruins have gone 170-157 in his 34 years as head coach. He’s led them to the playoffs the past four seasons, 14 times overall since 1986, including a 2A semifinal appearance in 2002.