URBANA (WCIA) — When new Urbana football coach Edmund Jones out Mike Bellamy was in town and not coaching with a team yet this fall, the new Urbana coach didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone. After all, it’s not every day a former second round NFL Draft pick is willing to join a high school team after spending the past decade working on a college sideline.
“I feel like I’ve been living right, that’s why that happened,” Jones joked. “I’m just being honest and for him to have fallen in my lap the way that he did at such a late day in the process, he’s been a savior to us.”
Bellamy was Lovie Smith’s running backs coach for the past two seasons — his second stint as an assistant at his alma mater. The former All-Big Ten receiver had interest from several DI programs after Bret Bielema didn’t retain him but decided to stay in the area for now. He wants to eventually get back to college football but is taking this fall to be the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
“It gives me the opportunity to be around football, to be around coaching,” Bellamy said. “You’re always learning so for me right now, working with Coach Jones it helps me a lot. I’m learning to give love back into the game.”
Jones also spent years coaching college football including stops at Eastern and Western Illinois. Both guys provide a lot of experience to an Urbana program looking to get back on the right track.
“You can see what they’re trying to do with the program, how they’re trying to get guys out here, how serious they are when they talk about the sport, motivating us to be better,” Urbana junior receiver Francis Kabu said.
“The kids have been absolutely great, they’ve done everything that we’ve asked them to do,” Jones said. “And it’s just like anything else, you want to prove everybody wrong. I know there’s a lot of people that say Urbana football is not going to do this, not going to do that but I guarantee you’re going to see a change.”