Bellamy returning to UI

Bellamy returning to UI

CHAMPAIGN — Former Illinois football player and assistant coach Mike Bellamy is returning to the school as running backs coach, sources close to the program confirmed Friday. Bellamy joining Lovie Smith's coaching staff means a former Illini will still be on the staff after Luke Butkus left earlier this month for a job with the Green Bay Packers.

Bellamy was a standout receiver at Illinois. He caught 59 passes for 927 yard and eight touchdowns in his two seasons with the Illini and was a second team All-American as a kick return as a senior in 1989. Bellamy was selected in the second round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 51st overall pick. 

After his playing career, which included stints with the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders, and time in the business world, Bellamy turned to coaching. He was a high school coach in Georgia for three seasons before spending one season at Clark Atlanta University.

Bellamy first returned to Illinois on Tim Beckman's initial staff as associate recruiting coordinator in 2012 before moving to receivers coach. He also coached under Bill Cubit until Smith was hired in March 2016. Bellamy spent the 2016 season at Mississippi State as a quality control coach/analyst and has been the receivers coach at Toledo the past two seasons.

An official announcement on his return to Illinois isn't expected until next week. Illinois still has to hire an offensive line coach to replace Butkus. Bellamy is the third new assistant hired this offseason along with cornerbacks coach Keynodo Hudson and Miles Smith's promotion to linebackers coach.