Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Bonita Holland Witnessed Significant Growth In Prep Sports
By Charles Parker // May 7, 2015
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: When Bonitia Holland became AD in 1985, she, as Thompson had before, had to divide her time between the classroom and the playing fields. As time went on, the duties of the athletic director evolved to such a degree that Holland had to leave the classroom to concentrate strictly on the sports program.
BONITA HOLLAND – 2015 INDUCTEE
• Florida Athletic Coaches’ Association Board of Directors
• Rockledge High AD Since 1985
‘ATHLETICS HAVE BOOMED’
In June of this year, Bonita Holland faces an exciting new world, the world of retirement.
It will be a bittersweet time for Holland, who has seen Rockledge High School’s sports program blossom during her 20-year tenure as the school’s athletic director.
“There’s a part of me that is so excited, but a part of me that is so scared,” said the Rockledge resident.
“I can’t imagine not coming to Rockledge High School every day.”
Unlike many of her fellow athletic directors, Holland did not originally anticipate a career in high school sports. A pre-Title IX baby, Holland missed out on the expanded opportunities for women interested in sports, but that didn’t stop her from playing her game of choice, softball.
“I never really participated in organized sports, because there were only a very limited number of girls’ teams in my day and there was no softball team,” said Holland, who grew up in Cocoa.
Thanks to her sports-crazy young brother, however, Holland experienced the world of Midget League and Little League.
“I was the youngest head scorekeeper for Cocoa Little League,” said Holland, who also noted her family consumed plenty of Little League “steaks,” aka hot dogs, during her youth.
A 1976 business administration graduate of Florida Technological University, later to become the University of Central Florida, Holland returned to her alma mater for a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, specializing in social sciences.
In 1979, the Brevard School District hired the fledgling social studies teacher at Rockledge, where Holland was mentored by Charlie Thompson, who like most athletic directors at the time, had to divide his time between the classroom and the AD duties.
“Charlie was my mentor and he is still a dear friend,” said Holland.
When Holland became AD in 1985, she, as Thompson had before, had to divide her time between the classroom and the playing fields. As time went on, the duties of the athletic director evolved to such a degree that Holland had to leave the classroom to concentrate strictly on the sports program.
During her tenure, she has witnessed significant growth in the breadth and scope of the sports program.
“I saw the birth of programs such as soccer, bowling and lacrosse,” she said.
“Athletics has boomed.”
From 1980 to 1991, Holland was also Rockledge’s varsity softball head coach. She has served as the Cape Coast Conference Secretary/Treasurer since 1989. In 1992, she was appointed to Florida Athletic Coaches’ Association board of directors.
BLEEDS RAIDER BLUE
Rockledge High School holds a very special place in Holland’s heart. Originally the old Cocoa High School building, Holland went through her sophomore year there.
“It was strange to come back, because I had been a Cocoa Tiger through and through and here I was back in the same building, but now working for Cocoa’s rivals,” she said.
The Cocoa Tiger has long left the building for Holland, but the Raider will always remain.
Holland plans to take in as many Rockledge games as possible from her new – and liberating – vantage point as a retiree.
“I can just go the bleachers and enjoy the games without worrying if everything is working as it should,” said Holland.
“I can’t quit going to the games. I bleed Raider blue.”
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com