A Navy football legend who delivered the school its first-ever Heisman Trophy has passed away.
On Thursday, the Capital Gazette reported that former Navy halfback Joe Bellino has died in his Massachusetts home at the age of 81. Per the report, he had been in declining health for a while.
Bellino came to prominence as a versatile running back for the Navy Midshipmen in the late-1950s. In three years with the team, Bellino had 2,284 yards from scrimmage and over 30 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per touch.
In 1960, Bellino was a key part of a top-five Navy team, rushing for 834 yards and 17 touchdowns on 168 carries. He had another 17 receptions for 280 yards and three touchdowns, as well as two passing touchdowns.
Joe Bellino, Heisman winner and Patriot, dies at 81 https://t.co/C80Ejgx9iv
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 29, 2019
For his efforts, Bellino was named a unanimous First-Team All-American and was awarded the Heisman Trophy. He beat out such future NFL legends as Mike Ditka, Tom Matte, and Billy Kilmer for the distinction.
The 1960 Midshipmen would go on to lose the Orange Bowl to the Missouri Tigers, but still finished ranked No. 4 in the country – their highest ranking since 1945.
Following his college football career, Bellino served four years in the military before spending three years with the Patriots in the AFL.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Bellino’s family and friends.