The Bolles School
By Thomas Gorman, MS, ATC, LAT
About the Bolles School
The Bolles School was established in 1933 as a military school for only boys in grades 7-12. Bolles became coeducational in 1971 and did not continue being a military school in 1962. The School’s balanced college preparatory program combines academics, offerings in the fine and performing arts, athletics, leadership and service opportunities and activities, and a nationally-known college counseling and guidance program.
Bolles Bartram Campus
Bartram School for Girls was founded in 1934 and is located on the south bank of the Arlington River. The school was originally Glynlea School. The school relocated in the spring of 1938 to its permanent campus on Little Pottsburg Creek and was renamed Bartram School. In 1991 it merged with The Bolles School and is now the current middle school campus and home of the girls boarding program. In addition, Bolles opened a campus in Ponte Vedra Beach in 1999 to serve students from the Beaches area in grades Pre-K through 5. The School enrolls more than 1,600 students with the ability to have 90 boarding students. Bolles Hall, the original structure on the San Jose Campus, is in the National Register of Historic Places. The Jacksonville Historical Society and the City of Jacksonville recognize its historical structure.
The Bolles School Athletic Program
As far as the athletics program at Bolles, they continue to earn recognition as the best in Florida its classification year in and year out, earning an All-Sports award for the 39th year in 2019. Bolles won the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Sunshine Cup for the 24th time in 2019, earning that award for 11 years in a row from 1995-2005 and again from 2007-19. They have also been awarded the Florida Athletic Coaches Association’s Carey E. McDonald All-Sports Award for 39 years, beginning in 1980.
Bolles has also been recognized nationally by several organizations, like ESPN and MaxPreps. In 2009, ESPN Rise ranked Bolles as the #1 boys’ athletic program in the country and MaxPreps named Bolles the third-best overall athletic program nationally in the same year. That year, the Jacksonville City Council presented a resolution commending Bolles’ athletic success. In 2005, Sports Illustrated ranked Bolles as the ninth-best athletic program out of 38,000 high schools in the nation over the previous 10 years.
JOI at Bolles
The sports medicine coverage at Bolles is provided by Jacksonville Orthopeadic Institute. Doctor Stephen Lucie originally started working with The Bolles School in 1984-1985. Also, there have been a few athletic trainers in his tenure. However, the current athletic trainer is Thomas Gorman MS, ATC, LAT. Dr. Lucie recently retired after the 2020 football season and Dr. Kevin Kaplan took over. Dr. Kaplan is an alumnus of The Bolles School. He is also currently the Head Team Physician for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bolles School Athletic Program has 145 team state titles and 96 state runner-up finishes in 17 different sports. Bolles also holds 503 team district titles in 24 different sports. Bolles Middle School has won 55 Independent Middle School Conference championships since joining the conference in 2007. The swimming and diving program has claimed 17 national titles – 9 in girls’ swimming and 8 in boys’ swimming, along with 7 national runner-up finishes for boys’ swimming and 1 in girls’ swimming.
Bulldogs in the Pros and Olympics
There are 16 athletes that have played or currently play in the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, or LPGA. Some notable athletes such as Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, DJ Stewart, Austin Slater, Amelia Lewis, Dee Brown, Hayden Hurst, and just recently Mac Jones. Since 1972 Bolles has had swimmers represented at each Olympics 1970.
Fifty-four (either current or former) of their students have participated in the Olympics, representing 28 countries or territories. They include American Samoa, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Guam, Israel, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, St. Lucia, Suriname, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Zambia. Bolles swimming alumni include 13 Olympic medalists, winning a total of 20 medals. Also, their coaches and former coaches have also had a presence at the Olympics since 1988. Both Ryan Murphy and Joseph Schooling are a couple of the recent gold medal winners.
School Administration & Staff
Tyler Hodges is the Headmaster of the school. Matt Morris has been the school’s Athletic Director for the last 21 years. Kelly Stevenson has been the Assoc. Athletic Director for the last six years and Josh Hoekstra has been the Asst. Athletic Director for the last two years at the upper school. Everything runs by Cheryl Henson as the Administrative Assistant for the upper school. Matt Denmark is the Athletic Director at the Middle school and has been there for 20 years.
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