JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When you have had the same job for the past 29 years, you might be a little reluctant to change.
New Bolles head football coach Wayne Belger says he is more excited than reluctant to take over the program that he was an assistant coach for almost three decades, even if he needs a little reminder of his new job every now and then.
"I still have to get reminded that I am the head coach here," said Belger. "Even though I've been here so long and been coaching so long, it's still new to be coaching coaches and players too and trying to get things going."
Belger, a long time assistant to Corky Rogers dating back to both of their time at Lee High School in the 70's says that the transition from assistant to head coach has been easy because of the foundation laid by Rogers and the coaching staff, all of whom returned this season.
"Obviously we want to keep going with what he built and we helped build and we are always working to do that," Belger said. "It's been a little bit of an easy transition because we have a staff here that stayed the same, so that's been an easy part of doing it. Trying to put out the fires that happen that I didn't have to deal with that he (Corky) did has been something new for me but it's been fun."
As much as consistency in the coaching staff is important to Coach Belger, consistency on the football field is just as important to one of the winningest football programs in any level in the state of Florida. Bolles has won a record 11 state titles in school history and is something else that Belger hopes to stay the same.
"I hope it just stays like we've been doing," said Belger. "I guess this is my 29th year here and hopefully it just keeps rolling like it's been doing. We've got a young team this year. We graduated 23 seniors and for us being a small school like we are, that's an awful lot. So, it's been a lot of teaching this spring and we a missing six or seven baseball players that are doing well that we don't have right now, in fact, that's three-quarters of our secondary. So this is a chance for a lot of young guys to get some opportunities to play."
Spring practice concludes this Thursday in a game against Mandarin at Bolles starting at 7PM. At halftime, the city and the school will honor the career of Coach Corky Rogers. Bolles is asking anyone who has played for Coach Rogers at either Bolles or Lee to come out and line the field in his honor.
"I hope it is a big turnout, I'll be surprised if it is not," said Belger. "Hopefully we can play well in between and make him proud of us."