Joe Bellino

On Nov. 29, 1960, Joe Bellino was sitting in an electrical engineering class at the United States Naval Academy when he was summoned to the commandant's office. "Of course, my initial concern was that I was in trouble with my academics," Bellino said. "I got to his office, and my football coach, a few officers and some civilians were there." Instead of admonishing Bellino, the commandant read him a telegram from New York's Downtown Athletic Club. Bellino, the Midshipmen's diminutive halfback, had won the 1960 Heisman Trophy. "I was glad I wasn't in trouble academically," Bellino said. "After that sank in, I was certainly glad I won the award." Bellino, who grew up in Winchester, Mass., was interviewed by an Associated Press reporter in the commandant's office. "After winning the Heisman Trophy, what more could you want?" the reporter asked. "Well, there's another fella from Massachusetts who has done pretty well this year," Bellino said. "I'd sure like to meet him one day." Bellino was referring to John F. Kennedy, a Massachusetts senator, who had been elected the country's 35th president on Nov. 8. The next day, Kennedy read in The Washington Post that Bellino wanted to meet him. Kennedy's office sent a telegram to the Naval Academy inviting Bellino and any other Midshipmen football players from Massachusetts to lunch at Kennedy's home. Kennedy even sent a limousine to the Naval Academy to transport Bellino and his teammates to Washington, D.C. A photo of Kennedy, Bellino and his Navy teammates still hangs on a wall in Bellino's office. "It was fantastic," Bellino said. "Of course, he was an avid sports fan, and we talked about football. We had other things in common, with both of us being from Massachusetts. It was a treat."

Joe Bellino, at 5'9" and 181 pounds, in Navy's 1960 season (9-1), gained 834 yards, over half his team's total of 1,650 yards. He competed five of 14 passes, two for touchdowns, caught 15 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. His quick-kicks averaged 47.1 yards and he returned 5 punts for 97 yards and 11 kickoffs for 240 yards. He was Navy's chief scorer in 1960 with 18 touchdowns.

Joe Bellino, Navy's pocket battleship, swept the Heisman field with a broadside of points to finish 1,062 ahead of second place finisher Tom Brown of Minnesota. Bellino had 436 first place votes to 127 for Brown, as he became the second consecutive Heisman winner to sweep each region.
Heisman Trophy Winners