The game was over before it ever really began, but as zeroes were shown on the Ford Field game clock in the 2021 Michigan High School Football Division 1 title game, the West Bloomfield Lakers were officially deemed champions for the first time ever, defeating defending state champs of Davison High School 41-0 this past winter.
West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy ended a pandemic-induced pushed-back season on top of the high school football world in the state of Michigan — a state he has called home since donning the Maize and Blue as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. And it’s a state he continues to call home, after taking over the safeties coaching gig at his alma mater not long after he and Michigan freshman running back Donovan Edwards exited the high school landscape in style.
Bellamy, 39, is a New Orleans native who came to Michigan as a wide receiver in the early 2000s. He had a solid collegiate career as a Wolverine, compiling 67 catches, 888 yards and nine touchdowns. Upon graduation, he signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2003 as an undrafted free agent. He stay in Miami was a short one, and he bounced around to a handful of NFL teams over the course of the next half-decade, including the Detroit Lions.
The state of Michigan is where his playing career ended, but it’s also where his coaching career blossomed.
Bellamy took the head coaching gig at West Bloomfield High School in 2010. It took a little bit to find their footing, but the Lakers made the playoffs in each of the final seven years of his tenure.
The 2017 season was Bellamy’s first sniff of the state finals, but lost to fellow Oakland County program Clarkston in a game dominated by defense and special teams with a final score of 3-2. It took all of four years to get back to that stage and to leave Ford Field with a trophy in-hand, and a legacy cemented in the state of Michigan.
During his time at West Bloomfield, Bellamy is credited with helping 165 kids earn football scholarships, an incredible 15 players per year average. It goes to show not only the investment he had in his kids getting to the next level, but the investment his kids had in the game, in part thanks to Bellamy.
Now Bellamy is tasked with helping players who earned scholarships to the highest level of football at the college level achieve another dream — something he was able to do for a little bit as a young man — get to the NFL.
And he’ll do just that in the exact same place his young adulthood began: the University of Michigan.