In celebration of Black History Month, HurricaneSports.com will highlight several African-American student-athletes that left their mark on the University of Miami. Our first profile focuses on Ray Bellamy, who was the first African-American on a football scholarship at UM (Video courtesy of StoriesofU.com and the Miami Alumni Association).
Ray Bellamy was the first African-American to sign a football scholarship to play for the University of Miami. In fact, Bellamy was the first African-American football athlete given a scholarship to a major university in the Southeastern part of the United States. He later became Miami's first African-American Student Body president.
Bellamy was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. A three-sport star at Lincoln Memorial High School in Palmetto, Fla., he earned letters in football, basketball and track. He was the captain of Lincoln's football team and also served as Student Body president, as well as the Florida State Student Council president.
An All-State and All-American in football at Lincoln, he chose the Canes over such schools as Florida, Florida State, Nebraska and Indiana. After setting records in 1967 on UM's freshman team, head coach Charlie Tate called him up to the varsity squad, where he caught 37 passes for 549 yards and two touchdowns. His best game of the 1968 season came at Auburn, where he caught 8 passes for 121 yards. He also caught a 78-yard TD pass for Miami's only score against No. 4 Penn State. At the time, Bellamy's 78-yarder was the third-longest pass reception in school history.
The following year, he had 8 catches for 163 yards and a 66-yard TD reception against Wake Forest. In January 1970, he was severely injured in a near-fatal car crash that ultimately cut short his promising career. When he concluded his college career, he ranked in the top eight in career catches, career receiving yards, single-season receiving yards, single-season receptions and single-game receptions.
Bellamy's 37 receptions in 1968 was a UM sophomore record. In 1971, he was voted Miami's first African-American Student Body president. A member of Iron Arrow, he was named to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. He credits his mentor, former University of Miami President Henry King Stanford, for teaching him to deal with his situation at Miami, and in relating to people of all walks in life.
Bellamy graduated with a degree in education in 1971 and a degree in business management in 1972. He also has a master's degree in college student personnel. He currently works as an academic advisor/instructor at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.
Check HurricaneSports.com throughout the month of February for more profiles.