By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
As a 1968 graduate of Fairview High, Bo Bolzle is quite aware of the number of good athletes his alma mater has churned out over the past 45 years.
The three-sport athlete wasn’t too bad himself, either, sporting numerous accolades throughout his prep career with the Aggies.
Bolzle will now have the opportunity to join some of his former peers, as he is set to be inducted into the 2013 Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Civic Center on April 27.
“I feel really honored to be inducted with some awfully good athletes,” he said. “Especially to be chosen by Fairview, who’s had so many greats come out of that school. I’m just real, real honored to be acknowledged.”
Although Bolzle was a member of the baseball and track team — he won a county title in the high jump — his real love was basketball, where the former Purple and Gold star racked up a plethora of honors on the court.
He was named to the All-County and All-Area team his junior and senior seasons. He also earned a spot on the North-South State All-Star Team following his senior campaign in which he averaged 17 points per game.
Bolzle accounted for two county basketball championships during his tenure with the Aggies, notching consecutive title-game victories over West Point. After graduation, he signed and played two years of college ball with Snead State Community College.
“Sports made such an impact on my life,” Bolzle said. “I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without them. I made so many life-long friends, and it really taught me the importance of teamwork and overcoming difficult situations.”
The former hoops star had a chance to play for a couple of coaches, Jake Bailey and Joe Shults, during his high school days and said both had a monumental effect on him.
“Those two came into my life at a time when I needed guidance most,” Bolzle said. “My father died at a very young age and coach Bailey took me under his wing. He and coach Shults both taught me the game of basketball, and I will always be grateful for that.
“But it wasn’t just basketball. They showed me how to handle life. They made sure I was doing the right things. Without their help and guidance, I wouldn’t have what I have in life today. I respect both of those men so much.”
After hanging up his jersey, Bolzle continued to dabble in the sports industry, coaching basketball and assisting in football at Hanceville Junior High, where he won a county championship in hoops during the 1978-79 season.
As for which title was more memorable, player or coach, Bolzle couldn’t say.
“Both were great,” he said. “I was actually probably more exhausted after winning one as a coach than I was a player.”
Later in his career, Bolzle went on to become a member of the Cullman County Official Association and later, the Alabama High School Athletic Association, where he spent 13 years officiating in all sports. He was also very active in Cullman’s Parks and Rec program, officiating all leagues and numerous major tournaments.
He retired in 2010 from the school system after spending 27 years as the principal and athletic director at Addison.
“I was an educator for 38 years,” Bolzle said. “Athletics played a big part in my life. I coached a lot of good kids and met a lot of good people along the way.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.