Vinatieri’s first professional coach, Doug Belvins, ‘proud’ of his career


ETSU's kicking specialist assisted the four-time Super Bowl champ before he reached the NFL

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The NFL’s greatest kicker hung up his cleats last week with Adam Vinatieri announcing his retirement, but before all the accolades and success, the future hall of famer was in the Tri-Cities trying to perfect his craft.

The Yankton, South Dakota native was a star for the South Dakota State football team, becoming the leading scorer for the Jackrabbits.

As his college career came to a close, Vinatieri didn’t have any NFL offers, so he made the trek to Abingdon to meet with NFL kicking specialist Doug Blevins.

The Abingdon native assisted Vinatieri with his mechanics and helped blossom the future hall of famer to the kicker he became. Vinatieri played in the NFL for 24 seasons, finishing as the NFL’s all-time leading scorer. The former Patriot and Colt won four Super Bowl titles, along with being named to three All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams.

Blevins, who’s more of a friend than a coach with Vinatieri now, is proud of what his pupil has become.

“Well that gives me a lot of self-satisfaction as a coach, because I could never do it, so to develop and produce someone that performs on that level,” Blevins said. “It gives me a great deal of self-satisfaction as a coach and personally Adam and I are like brothers. He’s my sons godfather and we have a friendship that will last all of our lives and I’m very proud of him.”

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