By Mare Contrare

There’s a new lacrosse commissioner at the Mandarin Athletic Association (MAA).  A nine-year resident of Mandarin, Zack Bellin isn’t new to town, just the new kid on the lacrosse field. His plans are to develop a program to prepare the kids to play lacrosse at Mandarin High School. Visit for more information; registration is taking place now.

  1.  Have you ever played lacrosse?

No. My daughter became interested in it. She’s tough and likes the action of the sport. I was able to find some great coaches to help start the program, Jeff Hawkins, who previously coached at Mandarin High School and Ceinwin Simpson who started the St. Augustine High program.

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  1. Why Lacrosse?

In 2015 my oldest daughter was interested in playing lacrosse. I enrolled her into the Creeks Youth Lacrosse program in St. Johns County. My son soon became interested and I realized I’d either be doing a lot of driving or I could start a program right here in Mandarin. We’ll be playing at Greenland Park. For those not familiar, lacrosse is a Native American sport featuring a small hard rubber ball and a stick with a small net used to throw and catch.

3. Are you a native of Jacksonville?

We moved to Mandarin from Santa Barbara, Calif. I am a field engineer and work for Raytheon. To get involved with the community I began coaching youth football in which my oldest son played and over the past five years have been the head coach of team as well as becoming a member of the Mandarin Athletic Association board. My wife is the vice president of the Mandarin Athletic Association board.

  1.  How many children do you have?

We have four children in the sequence of boy, girl, girl, boy. The kids all attend Mandarin public schools and we are very active in sports.

  1.  Have you ever served in the military?

Yes, I served nine years in the Marine Corps. I was on an F18 squadron.

Photo courtesy Mare Contrare

Zack Bellin


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