A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Bettencourt helped lift Saint Mary's College of California, a small college located in Moraga, California to national prominence. On the defensive side of the ball, Bettencourt became an expert at rushing the punter. During his four-year varsity career, he scored 12 touchdowns, most of them on blocked kicks. As a senior in 1927, he blocked punts in six consecutive games. His offensive play helped gain him All-American honors. During his four years St. Mary's, the school posted a 33-5-2 record.
After graduation, he signed a baseball contract with the St. Louis Browns for $6,000, which was then the largest bonus ever paid a rookie just out of school. In 1933 he played in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers.