The Michigan Wolverines have a few homecoming storylines in their rebooted coaching staff in Mike Hart and Ron Bellamy, both former stars at the university. Hart has had a developing coaching career with a handful of stops beforehand, but it is Bellamy who is getting his first crack as an assistant at the collegiate level.
Bellamy left his post as the head coach at West Bloomfield HS to take the job as a wide receivers coach at Michigan. He spoke about the opportunity to coach the position he played in Ann Arbor with Jon Jansen on this week’s In The Trenches Podcast.
“It was surreal,” Bellamy said. ”(Mike Hart and I) looked at each other when one of our meetings ended and the first thing we said was, ‘Wow. We’re coaches here at the University of Michigan. This is home for us. This is where we became men. This is where Lloyd Carr helped build a foundation for us to be husbands, fathers and just great people.’ Michigan is a special place.
“For Mike, he hadn’t been back in 10 years. Me being local, I’ve been back. But just to sit in the coaches’ office and to sit in the chairs and realize — it came full circle.”
It was Carr who turned these former players into me, but it goes much deeper than that for Bellamy. He says that Carr was the one who encouraged him to make his mark as a coach and give back to the game he loved.
“I sat at his office in (Weidenbach Hall) and I said, ‘What’s next, coach? What is the suggested transition for me?’ “ Bellamy said. “And coach Carr said, ‘You’re a football coach.’ ‘Football coach?’ That wasn’t in the plan. I had some very good opportunities to get into medical device sales and things of that nature. And coach Carr kind of drew a plan out for me.
“He said, ‘Follow this path and if you do, I think you’re going to enjoy this career, because it’s a career you can impact so many lives and help give kids opportunities that were presented to myself.’”
Bellamy took a job as a teacher and head coach at West Bloomfield, which is where he learned how to build a program, develop talent and lay a foundation for championship teams. This started from youth programs all the way up to where we are today, as West Bloomfield is now perennially considered one of the best programs in the state and sends players to Power 5 schools.
But it was Michigan that checked all the boxes for him, as long as that phone call came. Once it did, it was never in doubt that he would be making the jump back to Ann Arbor.
“It was a no-brainer when coach Harbaugh called and he said, ‘Are you ready?’ “ Bellamy said. “I said, ‘I’m ready to come home.’ The rest is kind of history.”
As far as what he feels his experiences can bring to the program, Bellamy sees similarities in what the foundation for success looks like.
“College football and high school football, there are a ton of similarities that I’m learning so far,” Bellamy said. “One of the similarities: You’ve got to take care of home. This state is rich in football tradition, this state is rich in football history. Whoever they ask me to go out and recruit, I’m going to put all my effort behind it.
“One of my strengths is I’m bringing energy. Every day I have this energy inside of me. That’s my personality. I’m real. I’m genuine. I love building relationships. I think that’s the foundation of success for anything you do. What better place to do it than the state of Michigan?”