JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bolles looked far and wide for its new football coach, but the guy the Bulldogs were after was right down the road.
Ponte Vedra's Matt Toblin announced on Wednesday night that he had accepted the head coaching position with the Bulldogs.
Toblin spent the last five seasons at Ponte Vedra, going 39-18 and leading the Sharks to the Class 5A state runner-up spot in 2016. Toblin took Ponte Vedra to the state playoffs in four of his five seasons there. He'll try and keep the tradition going at Bolles, the most decorated football program in state history.
Toblin replaces Wayne Belger, who retired after two seasons as head coach, including a regional final appearance in 2018. Belger replaced the iconic Corky Rogers, the state’s most successful coach, who retired due to health issues after a state runner-up finish in 2016.
Rogers went 465-84-1 in a career that spanned 45 years at Bolles and Lee. That win total, which included 10 state championships with the Bulldogs, ranked fifth nationally when Rogers retired.
In going outside of the building to hire Toblin, it marks a true turning of the page and a new era for Bolles. Rogers was hired away from Lee in 1989 and Belger came with him.
Toblin played at Mandarin under coach Craig Howard and later worked for Howard on his staff at Nease during its run of success in the mid-2000s. His first head coaching job came at Clay in 2009. He went 17-7 there before rejoining Howard, this time in the college ranks, at Southern Oregon. Toblin returned to the area after athe 2011-12 seasons there and went to Ponte Vedra as its defensive coordinator under coach Mike Loyd.
He'd succeed Loyd in 2014 and had a 3-7 season before getting a foundation in place.
The Sharks reached the state playoffs each of the next four seasons, including a stellar 2016 campaign behind eventual Mr. Football winner Nick Tronti. Ponte Vedra lost to Plantation American Heritage 35-33 in an sensational back-and-forth championship game.