Joe Bellini of Katonah, NY Named As Special Olympics New York 2022 Coach of the Year

KATONAH, NY – Special Olympics New York is thrilled to announce Joe Bellini, 56, of Katonah, as the 2022 Coach of the Year. A broadcast-quality video interview with Bellini’s athletes can be viewed here. 

For more than 25 years, Bellini has coached Special Olympics New York athletes in numerous sports, including volleyball, basketball, floor hockey, track and field, swimming, softball, and bowling. He’s coached at almost every level of competition, including two stints at the Special Olympics World Games. During the pandemic, Coach Bellini continued training his athletes virtually, despite the challenges the world was facing. 

“I’ve known Joe for as long as I’ve been involved with Special Olympics,” said athlete Will Smith in a video interview. “Joe has seen me grow up from a shy kid, always scared, always crying, but he never gave up in me. I don’t really look at him like a coach. He’s one of my best friends.” 

“We are honored to have a person like Joe coaching our athletes,” said Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics NY. “His dedication, kindness, and passion exemplify the very best our movement has to offer.” 

“I just want to thank the athletes,” said Coach Bellini during his acceptance speech at February’s Winter Games in Syracuse. “Thank you for the opportunity to work with you.” 

The winner of this award is nominated and selected by a committee of athletes, coaches, and staff. It is the highest state-level honor Special Olympics NY offers its volunteers. Furthermore, the winner of this award becomes eligible to earn the Special Olympics North America Coach of the Year Award. 


 About Special Olympics New York 

Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 31,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with about 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. The organization has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.com, making it one of the most trusted charities in the business nationally. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.