CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – For the first time in 23 seasons, there will be a new head coach on the sidelines for Lakeview. Sam Bellino spent the last five years as Hubbard’s defensive coordinator and takes the reigns of the Bulldogs program after Tom Pavlansky left to become head coach at Poland.
“This has been kind of in the works for me mentally for a while now,” Bellino said. “You know, my mid-20s, I started to really want to take that next step, but I knew I wasn’t prepared at that point in time. My time at Hubbard, I spent a lot of time being a sponge and kind of observing Coach Hoffman at Hubbard and picking his brain.”
Bellino is taking over a Bulldogs team that has won just seven of 28 games in the last three seasons.
“They’ve kind of had a few rough seasons and they’ve been beaten down the last few seasons,” Bellino said. “We’re trying to have that next play mentality, the looking forward mentality where it’s don’t look behind you. If something goes wrong, pick your head up and move on to the next play.”
To revitalize the Bulldogs, Bellino is upping the energy this preseason.
“The coaching staff is really good, in my opinion,” said Lakeview senior Nate Fox. “I’m excited. They push us and kind fuel the fire in us to fuel the fire in everyone else”
“We’re meant to have some fun out here,” Bellino added. “Obviously, it’s going to be more fun with more wins than losses and we’re using the energy as a tool for these guys. We want to be energetic. We want to bring the energy with these guys and allow them to have fun.”
A young, new coaching staff for a young team. The Bulldogs have just five seniors on the roster. Those seniors have never experienced a winning season at Lakeview, but are hoping this year will be different.”
“Oh, it would mean the world,” said senior Gavin Mauger. “It’d be so fun just to win finally. Just, it would mean everything. Go out with a bang.”