Belton comes full circle at Winslow Twp.

by Marc Narducci | Jul 25, 2022
Belton comes full circle at Winslow Twp.

Bill Belton never thought he would get into coaching. But the former Winslow Township and Penn State standout is now tackling a new challenge as the head coach at Winslow Township.

Belton, 29, was the offensive coordinator the previous two seasons. Last year, Winslow Township went 9-4 and won the Central Jersey Group 4 title.

It was the first sectional championship in school history since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1974 for Winslow Township.

“I am a firm believer in God and think this is His doing and this is the path he wanted from me,” Belton said. ”As an 18-year-old graduating from Winslow Township, I never thought my life would lead me back here, to first winning a sectional title and then being a head coach. It’s a crazy story.”

Belton was an All-South Jersey quarterback at Winslow Township, a true dual threat. He then went to Penn State and was part of the biggest upheaval in the school’s football history.

Belton played for three head coaches in four seasons. He was there for the final season of Joe Paterno, before the Jerry Sandusky scandal forced him out; that followed two seasons with Bill O’Brien and one with James Franklin, for his final season in 2014.

Still, with all the movement, Belton was grateful for his time at Penn State.

“My experience was a great experience at Penn State,” he said. “It was one of the best decisions in my life, it taught me a lot about life, about handling adversity and being a man.”

Belton began his Penn State career as a wide receiver but ended up playing mainly running back. His best season came as a junior when Belton rushed for 803 yards (5.1 avg.) and 5 touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 178 yards and 2 scores.

As a senior, he was on a team that was relatively inexperienced. Belton rushed for 526 yards (4.2 avg.) and 6 touchdowns, while catching 26 passes for 201 yards and one score.

In his career he accounted for 2,061 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns. That’s great output for playing in the Big 10, one of the best conferences in college football.

Belton had some pro tryouts, with the New York Jets and also with a few CFL teams, but it didn’t work out.

“At that point I was doing some soul-searching to figure out my next move,” he said.

Belton began training local players and enjoyed seeing how he could be a mentor to youngsters. He ended up serving as an assistant football coach at Timber Creek, working for one of the great head coaches in South Jersey, Rob Hinson (currently the head coach at Camden).

Then he came to Winslow Township and was highly successful as the offensive coordinator the past two years.

Belton works in the Winslow Township school district, serving as the youth development specialist in the middle school, where he charts the academic progress of the youngsters and mentors them, advising on the best courses to take in high school that will help them succeed in college.

The fact that he came from Winslow Township, has enjoyed success in college and now post Penn State, has to make an impression on the students in the school district.

As for how he will be as a head coach, we’re about to find out.

He’s converting receiver Jimmy Wilson Jr. to quarterback.

Belton knows all about this exercise. He began his Winslow Township career as a quarterback his freshman season, moved to receiver as a sophomore and back to quarterback his final two seasons.

The program now has heightened expectations after going beating Shawnee, 34-22 in the Central Jersey Group 4 championship.

Despite losing key players to graduation, there is still a good deal of talent at Winslow Township. Belton won’t be able to ease into the job, but he also won’t be overwhelmed by the task at hand.

He will just draw on his experience as a player and assistant coach and that should be enough to keep a prominent program rolling along.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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