St. Mary Central Catholic graduate Rick Bellamy has come full circle.
The 1986 graduate and 2007 athletic and achievement Hall of Famer was named wrestling coach Wednesday, replacing Mark Hiemstra, who resigned when he relocated to Austin, Texas, to accept a job with Goodwill Industries.
“I’m excited about it. I’ve been around area wrestling my whole career,” said Bellamy, the 1986 small-school state champion at 175 pounds. “I coached with Steve Finn at Perkins for 11 years and nine here at St. Mary with Jude Roth and Mark (Hiemstra).
“That’s why I’m excited to take the program over, to use my experience now that Mark is leaving.”
In other news for the program, the legendary Jared Opfer will join Bellamy as his top assistant. Opfer is one of 18 four-time state champions in OHSAA history for the Panthers in Division III from 1996-99 and won 211 matches.
Opfer will go into the Hall of Fame in January. He wrestled at Kent State, from which he received a degree with a master’s in business administration.
“You want to win the Sandusky Bay Conference. That’s just how it is in any sport anywhere you go,” Bellamy said. “And I think we’re on our way back up there. We were at the top before, and every guy on the staff — we know what it takes and will be working to get back there.
“It may take us some time, but we have a good group that has been working hard throughout the offseason. We are excited about this group. They are growing and will get better.”
Bellamy will be a lay coach, as he has spent 17 years as an employee at Kelko Products in Sandusky. He and his wife, Denise, have two sons: Kyle, a 2008 SMCC graduate, and Kody, an SMCC sophomore.