Former Navy Heisman winner Bellino dies

Field Level Media

March 29, 2019 at 11:23 pm.

Former Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino has died, according to the Heisman Trophy Trust. He was 81.

Bellino, who won the 1960 Heisman while playing halfback at Navy, died on Thursday in Massachusetts, according to the Trust.

“The Heisman Trust joins the Bellino family in its sorrow,” Heisman Trust president William Dockery said in a statement. “He was a cherished member of our Heisman Family and will be missed.”

Bellino opted for Navy over Notre Dame and several Big Ten schools and developed into Navy’s first Heisman winner. He rushed for 834 yards and 15 touchdowns and also had three receiving scores during his Heisman-winning campaign.

Bellino also won the Maxwell Award and was a unanimous first-team All-American selection.

In three seasons at Navy from 1958-60, Bellino scored 31 touchdowns and rushed for 1,664 yards. He also compiled 577 yards on kickoff returns and 256 on punts during his career and also played defensive back for the Midshipmen.

After his career at Navy, Bellino was required to serve a mandatory four-year military commitment, so he went low in the respective drafts — 17th round to the Washington Redskins in the NFL draft and 19th round to the Boston Patriots in the AFL draft.

After his service was complete, Bellino joined the Patriots and was mainly utilized as a returner during three seasons (1965-67). He averaged 21.0 yards on 43 kickoff returns and 7.8 yards on 19 punts in his career.

Bellino rushed for 64 yards on 30 carries and caught 11 passes for 151 yards and his lone NFL touchdown.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977. His No. 27 jersey at Navy was retired after his 1960 Heisman season.

Bellino served 28 years in the Navy and retired with the rank of captain.