Athletics Hall of Fame: Spotlight on Steven Bellis '87
by Kirsten Petersen
Steven Bellis’s athletic career is marked by firsts—he was the first St. Andrew’s basketball player to score 1,000 points and he led the team to its first Potomac Valley Athletic Conference basketball title in 1987.
But when asked why Bellis should be inducted into the St. Andrew’s Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class on Oct. 15 as part of Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, fellow alumni and coaches said it was his personality and work ethic that set him apart.
“He was very well-liked and well-respected,” said John McMillen, who coached Bellis ’87, during the championship season. “While Steve was talented athletically, he worked and he really pushed himself as hard as he pushed everyone else.”
Bellis played left back on the soccer team all four years and tried his hand at tennis and the high jump, but he said his main focus was basketball. He led the varsity team as a co-captain during the 1986 and 1987 winter seasons.
Bellis credits his coach, Guy Carcillo, with developing his skills and putting each player in a position to succeed.
“He would put together us like a jigsaw puzzle. All working together, it was a really good team,” Bellis said. “By our senior year we were poised to win it all, and we did.”
The PVAC title match against Georgetown Day School took place March 8, 1987. Bellis said he still remembers the thrill of beating the Georgetown Day team—which had defeated St. Andrew’s the year before—and celebrating the victory.
“We achieved a championship. That’s the ultimate goal when you’re in high school or college,” Bellis said. “You want to achieve the highest you can achieve, and being a part of that was excellent and satisfying.”
Bellis scored a total of 1442 points for the team before he graduated, a count his parents recorded throughout his four years. He made school history when he hit 1,000 during his junior year, a record he set before three-point shots were adopted by secondary schools nationwide.
Steve Newman, ’87, a close friend of Bellis’s, was also on the championship team and called him “one of the first really great athletes St. Andrew’s had.”
“He really set the tone for the season. I think he just made everyone better around him,” Newman said. “Just like he contributed on the basketball team, I think he contributed to the people in the classroom as well.”
“I think that he basically embodies a lot of the same values that St. Andrew’s tries to instill in its students.”
Bellis was recruited to play basketball at Gettysburg College, an NCAA Division III school. He said his education at St. Andrew’s prepared him for the rigor of Gettysburg’s academics.
“The difficulty of the St. Andrew’s education—it was practically like college,” Bellis said. “If I didn’t work hard I wouldn’t have done very well at St. Andrew’s. It really helped me do pretty well at Gettysburg.”
Today Bellis continues to play recreational basketball in Philadelphia and said he continues to carry the discipline, work ethic and confidence to ask questions that he developed at St. Andrew’s on and off the court.
“Being recognized as one of the best—I feel very proud of that,” Bellis said.