A Champion is Forever
A Champion is Forever

Nick Bellanco


By Mike Plant

Judging from his accomplishments, Nick Bellanco warrants Hall of Fame consideration from his days as a football player. The same holds true when looking at his track and field career.

Put them together and it’s no surprise that the 2005 Wooster High graduate is being inducted into his third Hall of Fame, having been chosen for the WHS and Ashland University HOFs prior to his selection into the ranks of Wayne County’s all-time best.

At Wooster, Bellanco lettered in four sports — football, basketball, track and lacrosse, a sport he played as a sophomore.

On the football field, he lettered three times. As a senior, playing quarterback for the first time, he guided the Generals to a conference title and playoff berth, earning All-Ohio Cardinal Conference honors. Wooster was also the OCC champ and a playoff qualifier his junior season.

In basketball, he was named All-OCC as a junior and senior, and as a 3-year letterwinner on the track set the conference record in the 400, a mark that still stands.

Making the short drive to Ashland for college, Bellanco narrowed his athletic pursuits down to two sports, football and track, and he excelled in both, along with a stellar performance in the classroom.

On the football field, Bellanco transitioned to wide receiver and left a major imprint on both the program and the record book. A four-year letterman, he was named All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference three times and was a second-team All-American after his senior season.

Bellanco still has the AU record for most receptions in a season, is currently second in all-time receiving yards for a single season and is in the top 10 in all-time receiving yardage (6th) and all-time receptions (9th).

With the school’s storied track program, Bellanco started off with a bang, earning the award as the 2006 co-GLIAC Indoor Men’s Freshman of the Meet, and never really stopped, running his way to status as a 7-time All-American.

In addition to on-field exploits, Bellanco was also honored for his academic excellence, being named to the Academic All-American and Academic All-District teams.

“Playing sports in college actually kept me more organized from an academic standpoint,” Bellanco said. “I remember writing down my schedule, hour by hour, every night for the next day. There was only so much time to study with all the demands both sports had on my time.”

His collegiate career culminated with winning the 2009-10 McAvoy Award winner as GLIAC’s Male Athlete of the Year, presented annually to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football player who best combines outstanding character and leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

Following college, Bellanco went on to earn his medical degree and is now Dr. Nick Bellanco, practicing in the Dayton area. He and his wife Molly live in Bellbrook along with daughters Josephine (7) and Savannah (3).

His sports experiences, as well as the support of his family, came in handy during his medical residency, especially early when he was struggling.

“Those were really hard months and I learned I wasn’t invincible,” Bellanco said. “But with God’s help I made it through.

“Athletics helped me learn that, in life, there is a process to stick with. You stick to that process and usually, results will come.”