No. 5 in 100: Bellamy's drive led to Hall of Fame career

September 6, 2012 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

Norma Bellamy doesn’t like to be interviewed.

She’d rather let her impressive volleyball record speak for itself. No surprisingly, the modest Bellamy handed her cell phone to her son, Dan, when I called her Thursday morning.

But when her son kept relaying questions about her past, Bellamy reluctantly grabbed her cell phone again. Bellamy coached her last volleyball match at Safford High in 1995, but it’s hard to forget what Arizona’s first girls volleyball coaching legend accomplished.

She won 94 percent of her matches during her 25-year career at Safford. That’s the second highest winning percentage among the top-75 coaches on the National Federation of State High School Association’s all-time volleyball list for wins.

Bellamy also won a state volleyball record 520 matches and lost only 33, and she also holds the state record for volleyball coaching titles with 21 in 25 tries.

But her competitiveness and the disciplined she instilled in her teams are what really helped define Bellamy.

“She (Bellamy) would always tell her players, ‘Crush them (opponent),” Dan said. “And she wasn’t smiling when she would say it.”

Living in poverty as a child helped develop Bellamy’s strong work ethic, she said.   

Her competitiveness ballooned during her friendly battles with her five brothers and two sisters. Bellamy grew up in Needles, Calif., but she’s called Safford home since 1964.

Her first passion was softball and didn’t start liking volleyball until Bellamy began winning at Safford High, she said. When she was reached Thursday morning, Bellamy, 72, was on her way to Texas to visit her grandkids.

Besides travelling, Bellamy said she’s enjoying life as much as possible, working out at a gym, going to church and playing card games with her friends. And every once in a while, despite her reluctance to do so, Bellamy gets to brag about her accomplishments.

Bellamy is one of only five former Arizona athletes or coaches who have been inducted into the NFHSA’s Hall of Fame.  

“I’m surprised I won that many matches,” she said. “You make your own luck I guess. I did win some by inches and also lost some the same way as well.”

Throughout the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years will celebrate the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s 100th anniversary by unveiling 100 of the top moments and people who helped shape the landscape of high school sports in Arizona. If you would like to recommend a story idea for this project, you can e-mail it to me or post it on our Facebook page.