Coach Pedersen is going to collect tributes and quotes on Coach Bellamy and post them on the football website in the near future. If you would like to contribute please email Coach Pedersen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vance Ellison- Remembers Coach Bellamy always had a quote outside his door that read "Practice does not make perfect, a perfect practice makes perfect." Coach Ellison is now an assistant coach on the football staff.
Coach Jim Bellamy built a dynasty out of the Mount Vernon football program. The tone he set for his teams trickled down to us as elementary school students. Growing up we wanted to play under those lights on Friday nights.
Coach Bellamy was difficult. He was easily frustrated. He was demanding. One would assume his desire to win produced those personality traits but in reality he only wanted his players to do their best.
He taught me several lessons that I have never forgotten. One was delivered after I missed a block in practice. Coach Bellamy yelled at me and asked why I had missed my assignment. I began to explain and he cut me off and yelled "you either do or you don't, son! Huddle up." The message has stuck with me ever since. Your excuse doesn’t change the result.
He would give unexpected praise. A block on the away from the play or a pursuit angle, would get a rewind on film and he’d say “Everyone watch this......nice work, that’s what we want to see.” That spirit of highlighting seemingly insignificant moments embodied one of his most notable sayings, “You’re only as good as you are when no one’s looking.”
Coach Bellamy’s record as a high school football coach speaks for itself but the moments no one saw helped shape many young men.
Toughness and Discipline
That’s what I think of when I think of Coach Jim Bellamy. The man had a profound impact on me as a person and I know that was the case for many people that went through Mt. Vernon. It wasn’t until I was done playing college football that I truly realized all of the things he taught me about the game of football and how those things carried over to life. Coach Bellamy is a huge reason I started coaching and teaching.
Coach just had a way to get the most out of his players and maximize their potential. He was a yeller no doubt about it but I always felt that he knew exactly when and how to do it just right to motivate us…..sometimes it didn’t matter though. He had high expectations of all of us on and off the field. Many of our conversations were about my grades when I was in 9th grade.....they were not good and those were not pleasant conversations. If you didn’t do your job there was no excuse. However, what he would always say to us, and these words have always stuck with me is, “If you can look at yourself in the mirror after practice or competition and say I gave it all I had, I did everything I possibly could and couldn’t give anything more then that’s all you can do. You are the one that has to live with it if you can’t say that”
I truly think we beat a lot of teams because they couldn’t match how hard we played and the discipline in which we did it with. It wasn’t always that we were the more talented team.
He helped instill some core values in me that have helped lead me to where I am now as an educator and as a coach. Coach Bellamy was one of the first people I looked to and said “I want to do that someday, I want to lead boys and help make them into great young men”. I have some fond memories of him and laugh because I know as a teenager I wasn’t always so fond of him but I seriously credit him to a lot of my successes because he was so hard on me. He knew that I needed that “hard coaching” even if I didn’t think so. He taught me to expect more of myself and others I’m associated with. He was a master at preparation and that’s something I always think of in my own coaching career was just how prepared our teams were back then. I take that with me every season and never want a team to be more prepared than us.
A couple memorable moments to share 1. The handshake and nod after one of the final plays vs Camanche was better than any “Great job or atta boy”. I think those of us that played for him know exactly what I’m talking about.
2. Shortly after I started coaching college ball I was home from Dubuque and ran into coach at the golf course. He was sitting at a table with Mr. Ringold when I walked in. I saw both of them and immediately said hi, I asked how they were doing and the Mr. Ringold asked what I was up to. I explained to him I was a graduate assistant coach at The University of Dubuque. Mr. Ringold said “good for you that’s great!” Coach Bellamy nodded and smiled so I felt pretty good like I had made both of them proud. Coach was a man of few words so I told both of them to enjoy the day and was great seeing them both. As I walked away I heard, “Stanton get back here” I started having flashbacks and turned around right away feeling like I was a sophomore walking down the hallway. Coach then says, with a smirk on his face, “Shouldn’t you be watching film and getting ready for the season?! What are you doing out here?” Ringold at this point is saying something to the effect of “Jim it’s summer he is enjoying himself” Meanwhile I’m stumbling over my words explaining to him I’m just taking a break. He then goes on to tell me a long story about Bear Bryant being stood up by some Georgia Bulldog Coaches he was supposed to clinic because they were too busy golfing. So according to coach, Bear made it a point to never hire coaches who golfed because they can’t be trusted to prepare the way they should to be able to beat the best. Coach went on to say, “Just make sure you are watching more film and preparing more than your opponent, don’t spend all your time out here”. He put his hand out, we shook hands and I said thanks Coach will do. It was a moment that I think about often actually.
Coach Bellamy taught toughness and discipline leading by example. No one would out work him or prepare more than him. His discipline rubbed off on his teams and that’s how we practiced. Fundamentals and techniques were emphasized daily. He was the hardest coach I ever had and at times I questioned if he cared about us as people. However, as time went on and goes on it is evident that he absolutely cared. He just showed it and did it through a way of toughness and discipline.
I know myself and many others feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to play for him. Thank you Coach Bellamy! Lucas Stanton