At Thompson’s request, Ollis returning as Polk County head coach

Polk County head football coach Bruce Ollis
Bruce Ollis will again be roaming the Polk County sidelines next season (Jane Ollis photo).

The winningest coach in Polk County football history is returning to the Wolverine sidelines.

In a chain of events set in motion by current head coach Jamie Thompson, Bruce Ollis will again lead the Polk County football program. The Polk County Board of Education approved at its regular monthly meeting on Monday the rehiring of Ollis, who will become the sixth head football coach in school history and the first to hold the job twice.

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Ollis, who compiled a 110-42 record with five Western Highlands Conference championships from 2002-2013, left Polk County in January 2014 to become the head football coach at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, S.C. He posted a 15-20 record in three seasons at T.L. Hanna, including a 6-5 mark in 2016, before announcing his resignation there earlier this year.

Among those who knew Ollis planned to resign before that announcement was Thompson, who coached with Ollis throughout his 12-season stay at Polk County and has remained close since with the veteran head coach. It was Thompson who first brought up the idea of stepping aside to allow Ollis to return, with Monday’s Board of Education vote making that move official.

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Thompson will remain on staff as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach, a move he said will allow him to spend more time with his family. Named Polk County’s head softball coach earlier this year, Thompson has three children, including a son, Trey, who played football as well as competed with the wresting and golf programs this season as a freshman at Polk County High School. His wife, Amber, served this season as Polk County’s junior varsity girls basketball coach.

“None of this ever happens without Jamie Thompson,” Ollis said. “He is an incredible person and good friend, and we have an incredible relationship.

“With me coaching at T.L. Hanna and Jamie being the head coach at Polk County, we’ve both grown as coaches. The result is that we’re better coaches than we were before and going forward that’s going to make our teamwork even better. Polk County football is not broken, and Jamie and I are going to work together and we’re going to make it even better.”

Thompson posted a three-year record of 19-18, joining Ollis and Dennis Stokes as the only head coaches in the program’s history with a career record above .500. His 9-4 record in 2014 included a 2A playoff victory over Lexington.

“We are excited to have Bruce Ollis rejoin our staff at Polk County High School and welcome him back as head football coach of the Wolverines,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. “Coach Ollis brings with him a great deal of experience, dedication and success. He is returning to a community and school he calls home and we look forward to seeing him again at the ‘Little Big House’ as he leads the Wolverines.”

“We are thrilled to have Coach Ollis back in Wolverine country,” said Polk County High School Principal Brandon Schweitzer. “He brings experience and energy to a football program that is second to none. We can’t wait to get started working on the 2017 season.”

Ollis will begin working with the Wolverine football program this spring before rejoining the Polk County faculty on a full-time basis in late summer.

“I want to thank Aaron Greene and Brandon Schweitzer and the Board of Education for this opportunity,” Ollis said. “Without their support, this doesn’t happen.”