Florida A&M University (FAMU) academic adviser Ray Bellamy, the first Black football scholarship athlete at the University of Miami (UM), was among four UM honorees to earn the inaugural Miami Athletics Trailblazer Award.
“Anytime your family, people and university honor you, it is a very special feeling,” said Bellamy, who has been an adviser in FAMU’s psychology department for the past 12 years. “I was on the ground floor at Miami. I didn’t realize people were paying attention to what I was doing there.”
Bellamy, who played wide receiver for the Hurricanes football team from 1967-1970, is joined by Will Allen (men’s basketball, 1967-1971) and Kim Sands (women’s basketball, 1974; women’s tennis, 1974-78), as well as former University President Henry King Stanford.
UM recognized all four honorees throughout the week of Feb. 15 as part of its Black History Month initiatives and was highlighted during the Hurricanes’ men’s Feb. 20 basketball game versus Georgia Tech.
Bellamy was the first Black football scholarship athlete at UM as well as the first at a predominantly white university in the Southeast. After setting records on the freshman team, Bellamy caught 37 passes for 549 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore on the varsity squad. He caught eight passes for 163 yards and one score as a junior before injuries from a car crash curtailed his college football career.
After he graduated, Bellamy played professionally for the New York Jets and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. While in Montreal, Bellamy played for head coach Marv Levy. His roommate was Olympic bronze medalist John Carlos.
“Before the accident, I was the No. 1 receiver in the country,” said Bellamy. “We had some good times in Montreal, and I was truly fortunate to get the opportunity to play professionally.”
In 1971, Bellamy became the first Black student body president in UM history.
While at Miami, Bellamy double majored in education and business management and has a master’s in college student personnel. He was inducted into the Iron Arrow, the highest honor attained at Miami.
Prior to coming to FAMU, the trailblazer coached football at South Carolina State University in 1996. In 2002, the Palmetto, Fla., native was in charge of the academic eligibility of student-athletes and coached football at Fort Valley State University.
In 2012, Bellamy was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.