Bellotti Gets His Kicks with Kingsmen
First year kicker has been key to CLU success
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In Oregon, his name is instantly recognized.
But in Thousand Oaks, Sean Bellotti can fly a bit more under the radar.
The Cal Lutheran freshman kicker is the son of former Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti.
"It's pretty interesting because everyone in high school pretty much knew, but it takes people a little longer here to make the connection," he said. "I think they kind of have a suspicion, but until they ask or it gets brought up, they never knew for sure."
Mike Bellotti coached the Ducks from 1995 to 2008, so Sean grew up around the program.
"It was so much fun," Bellotti said. "I would spend a lot of time there, especially when I was younger. I became friends with the coaching staff and we had dinner there every Sunday night."
Bellotti played wide receiver, cornerback and kicker at Sheldon High in Eugene.
Once he decided to play football in college, Bellotti began researching the top Division III programs on the West Coast.
He read about Cal Lutheran and sent the coaching staff his film. After making a visit, Bellotti knew it was the right fit.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Bellotti has been handling kickoffs for CLU this season. He is one of three kickers CLU uses on special teams.
"It has been an adjustment from high school in playing receiver, corner and kicking to now just kicking. But I really enjoy being a part of the kickoff team and trying to help the defense out as much as I can," Bellotti said. "Kicking off was my best aspect of kicking in high school."
CLU special teams coordinator Geno Sullivan has been impressed with Bellotti's performance in his rookie season.
"As a kickoff guy, Sean is probably the best kicker we've had here and we've had some good ones," Sullivan said. "He's been around football his whole life and he knows how important field position is to a team. He has taken that to heart and done a great job."
Sullivan witnessed just how deep the football knowledge runs in the Bellotti family during his recruiting trip.
"I took his mom on the roof to show them the stadium and she looked at me and said, 'Which way does the wind blow?' " Sullivan said. "That is not a normal mom question. I don't get asked that by a kicker, yet alone their moms."
Bellotti's parents have been able to attend every CLU game this season.
"It has been so awesome to see them and have their support," Bellotti said. "My dad was really supportive of my decision to attend CLU. He just tried to help me out any way he could, but he didn't really have any involvement in my recruiting process. He was just there more as a father figure."
Bellotti will be a part of CLU history on Saturday when the Kingsmen host an NCAA Division III playoff game for the first time.
No. 7 CLU plays No. 14 North Central (Ill.) in the first round at noon.
If the Kingsmen win, they could be making a trip to Bellotti's home state to play Linfield in the second round.
"This football season has been such a great experience," Bellotti said. "I didn't really expect the team to be this close, but it's become like a family. It has been really cool to be a part of it."