BAY CITY, Mich. -- Ashland University senior wide receiver Nick Bellanco has been named recipient of the 2009 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Jack H. McAvoy Award as announced by Commissioner Dell Robinson. The award is presented annually to the GLIAC football player who best combines outstanding character and leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.
A native of Wooster, Ohio, Bellanco has earned a 3.90 grade point average (4.0 scale) while majoring in Biochemistry and Mathematics. He has been named to the GLIAC All-Academic football team three times, is a Second Team Academic All-American, and is a two-time member of the GLIAC Football All-Conference Second Team. A fall 2008 GLIAC Commissioner’s Award recipient for athletic and academic excellence, Bellanco was nominated for the National Football Foundation’s 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy. In the summer of 2008, Bellanco received a grant from the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh where he worked on two research projects dealing with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. A member of the American Chemical Society, Bellanco plans to continue his education in the field of orthopedic medicine. Off the field, the two-sport athlete has been involved in Ashland’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
This season, Bellanco recorded 42 receptions for 757 yards and seven touchdowns, leading the team in both yards-per-catch average and touchdown receptions. He ends his career fourth in school history in career receptions (123) and third in career receiving yards (1,975). He shares the school single-season record for receptions (72) and his 1,001 receiving yards is the second highest school single-season mark. Bellanco is tied for second place in career touchdowns receptions (17) at Ashland.
“The GLIAC is proud of the accomplishments of Nick Bellanco,” stated Commissioner Robinson. “He exemplifies outstanding character and embodies all of the qualities that the Jack McAvoy Award and Division II athletics represent.”
Bellanco becomes the first Ashland athlete to win the award. Ferris State University has had the most recipients of the award (4), with Michigan Technological University and Saginaw Valley State University in second with two apiece. The Award is named for former Hillsdale College director of athletics and head football coach, Jack McAvoy, who was instrumental in the founding of the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC), now known as the GLIAC.
Jake H. McAvoy Award Winners
2009 Nick Bellanco Ashland
2008 Jake Visser Ferris State
2007 Mark Nicolet Hillsdale
2006 Mike Klobucher Ferris State
2005 Matthew Shem Northern Michigan
2004 Neil Baumgartner Saginaw Valley State
2003 Josh Sherko Northern Michigan
Scott Stuible Northwood
2002 Jason Battershell Saginaw Valley State
2001 Chris Volz Indianapolis
2000 Alex Kowalski Michigan Tech
1999 Mo Harris Ferris State
1998 Jeff Fox Grand Valley State
1997 Matt Fishburn Wayne State
Eric Tree Michigan Tech
1996 Chris Pulliams Ferris State