Bollinger excited to start coachingCoaching was the natural next step for Brooks Bollinger. It just may have happened a little sooner than he expected. The former Grand Forks Central star, who played seven seasons in the NFL after going 30-12 as Wisconsin’s quarterback from 2000-03 — including a Rose Bowl victory in 2000 — was in Jamestown this week to host the Bollinger QB & Receiver School at Rollie Greeno Field.
Coaching was the natural next step for Brooks Bollinger. It just may have happened a little sooner than he expected.
The former Grand Forks Central star, who played seven seasons in the NFL after going 30-12 as Wisconsin’s quarterback from 2000-03 — including a Rose Bowl victory in 2000 — was in Jamestown this week to host the Bollinger QB & Receiver School at Rollie Greeno Field.
Bollinger begins his first head coaching job later this summer at Hill-Murray High School in St. Paul, Minn., less than a year after retiring from professional football. He played the 2009 and ‘10 seasons for the Florida Tuskers in the United Football League.
“I’ve been around football and coaching all of my life, so I knew it was something I wanted to do,” he said. “It maybe came a little quicker than I thought, but I feel prepared for it.”
Bollinger, along with his dad Rob, and other veteran coaches, have been conducting the passing camp for seven years, so it’s not as if he’s going into the upcoming high school season cold turkey coaching-wise. Although, he admits he still is learning certain things on the fly.
“Some of those administrative things, like dealing with the parents, and getting equipment lined up and those types of things is new, but I’m enjoying all of it,” he said.
Giving up playing wasn’t easy, but it was a decision he was comfortable with.
“I still love playing, but I have three kids now and it was tougher and tougher each year to be away from my family,” Bollinger said. “I want to be at home and watch my kids grow up. That’s important to me.”
Bollinger was a sixth-round pick by the New York Jets in 2003 and bounced around from there as a journeyman, but reliable, back-up QB.
He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 and then hooked on with the Detroit Lions in 2009, but was cut before the regular season began.
He had two successful seasons in the UFL, including being named the league’s MVP in 2009, but was injured late in the 2010 season, which was the beginning of the end, he said.
“I certainly enjoyed my career. I had the opportunity to play with a lot of great players and learn from a lot of great coaches,” he said. “You try to learn a lot from each experience, and now I’m trying to develop my own philosophy.”
He hasn’t paid a whole lot of attention to the current labor mess in the NFL, which is into its fourth month. He said players like him were more concerned about where their next job was going to be, not squabbles between millionaire players and billionaire owners.
“It’s probably a big deal to those real high-end players,” he said. “For guys like me, there was more instability from year-to-year, so I just tried to keep improving and worry about the things I had control of.”
For now, that’s his high school team in St. Paul. Where his coaching career takes him in the future he doesn’t no, but he’s happy where he is now.
“You never rule anything out, but I’m excited about the job I have,” Bollinger said. “I want to be good at that and help kids become better players. That’s what I’m focusing on right now.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com