Joe Bellino, Winchester halfback who became Navy’s first Heisman winner, dies at 81

Apr 11, 2019 641

BY: Marvin Pave

Joe Bellino was sitting in an electrical engineering class at the Naval Academy in November 1960 when he was summoned by the school’s superintendent. Mr. Bellino, Navy’s star halfback, thought he was in trouble. The superintendent’s office was filled with people, including two sports reporters and an admiral, who read a telegram from the Downtown Athletic Club that began: “Congratulations Midshipman Bellino.”

At that moment, the former Winchester High School three-sport athlete realized he had won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest individual honor. Years later, he told the Globe that when he brought the trophy home, seeing the joy it brought his relatives and friends, along with former high school teammates and coaches, made him feel “glad for them.”


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