Winningest coach in Montgomery HS football history calls it a career after 34 years in education
Following the Montgomery Bears successful 11-1 season that included an undefeated regular season and district title, longtime Montgomery HS Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator John Bolfing has announced his retirement. Bolfing has coached at Montgomery HS since 2003, serving two years as the Defensive Coordinator before being named Head Coach in 2005.
Bolfing holds a record of 114-71 as the head coach of the Bears, having earned District Coach of the Year five times, including the 2021 season in which the Bears were undefeated and named District Champions.
Bolfing received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas in 1987 and began his career as Head Football and Baseball Coach at Waco Christian in 1988. In 1990, he made the move to Reicher HS as the Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at his alma mater. From there, he spent three seasons at Midlothian HS and four at China Springs HS, both as Offensive Coordinator, before coming to Montgomery HS as the Defensive Coordinator in 2003.
“In the summer of 2005, Dr. Bob Smith, Bobby Morris and Athletic Director Leonard George took a chance on hiring me from a staff that hadn’t been very successful,” Bolfing said. “Clint Heard and Lori Polan have been with me since I arrived and I will forever be grateful to the individuals who have had such a great influence on my career.”
In his 17 years as Head Coach, the Bears have made the playoffs 11 times, advancing as far as Regional Finals in 2010, with a season ending loss to Friendswood at Rice Stadium. He holds the longest tenure for a football coach in Montgomery HS history, has the most wins by a head coach with 114 and has the third highest win percentage behind Jack Snipes (1969, one season, 12-0) and Howell Ferguson (1979-80, two seasons, 15-3). Over the last 17 seasons, the Montgomery Bears are the second winningest football program in Montgomery County.
“I have been truly blessed to work with some incredible coaches, but more importantly, outstanding men,” Bolfing said. “They have made my job easy and we have been given some amazing young men to coach over the years, who bought into what we were doing and showed that Montgomery football could compete with anyone.”
During his tenure in Montgomery, Bolfing has coached all three of his sons, Tyler, Josh and Brock, in the quarterback position, with his youngest son Brock set to graduate in May.
“My wife has been a huge blessing in my career,” Bolfing said. “Allowing me to do my job to the best of my ability while she took care of the day-to-day responsibilities of our four kids, often working herself and always being in attendance at Friday Night Lights. She and the kids, especially Brooke, have always been my biggest fans and spending 10 seasons with my sons on the field with me is something I never dreamed of.”
Bolfing has coached in every Montgomery HS game ever played at MISD Stadium and his wife, Gailey, has been in attendance at each one as well.
“It’s hard to imagine a Bears game that won’t have John on the sidelines,” MISD Athletic Director Clint Heard said. “His family is a staple of Montgomery and he has been instrumental to the success of our Bears and in growing young men to be outstanding student-athletes that represent our community well.”
Bolfing’s overall record as a Head Football Coach in the State of Texas is 162-111-1. He led Waco Christian to win the State Championship in TAPPS 2A in just his second year of coaching and has continued to carry teams to success. In only his second season as Head Coach of the Bears, Montgomery advanced to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
Bolfing believes that his family has been very fortunate to work and live in community with some amazing people through his 34-year career. Fred McNeil hired him at just 24 years old to be the Head Football Coach at Waco Christian and the late Father Leo Baysinger trusted him to lead the Athletic Department at Reicher. He also credits head coaches at Midlothian and China Spring, Danny Stout and Mark Bell, for teaching him more about the game of football than anyone else and preparing him for the success he has had in Montgomery.
“It is difficult to pick a most memorable season, but if I had to it would be 2014,” Bolfing said. “It was our first year in 6A and most people believed that would be the demise of our program. We were the smallest school in the state playing at the 6A level and achieved a winning season in what I believe was the toughest 6A district in the state. I’ve never been more proud of a group of players!”
Bolfing plans to spend next football season on the road, cheering from the stands as he supports his children who have supported him and his team all these years. Tyler, 2011 graduate of Montgomery HS, is currently a coach at Baylor while Josh, 2015 graduate of Montgomery HS, is coaching at The University of Louisiana. Brooke, a 2013 Montgomery HS graduate is engaged to a member of Texas Tech football team’s administrative staff and Brock will be beginning his college career playing at Blinn College.
“Gailey and I will be at a college football game every Saturday next fall,” Bolfing said. “Spending time with our kids and their growing families.”
Bolfing has experienced Montgomery through times of rapid growth and the addition of another high school and is truly thankful for the time spent with “some of the best people on the planet” at Montgomery HS. From teachers, cafeteria workers, to administrators, and he especially wants to thank the custodians, Carlton White, Jesse Alfred and the late Arthur Ford, believing that no one makes your job easier than good custodians.
“I’ve known John for 20 years now and there is no doubt that he is an incredible football coach with an amazing ability to inspire athletes,” Heard said. “His career here has been great for our community and the success of our football program and we wish him nothing but the best in his next journey.”