What is it about former Vikings quarterbacks? Evidently they retire in groups and return to high school coaching in groups, too.
At roughly the same time that Brett Favre filed his retirement papers with the NFL (the latest batch), former Vikings signal caller Brooks Bollinger also announced his retirement from professional football after spending the past two years playing for the UFL's Florida Tuskers. Then, about a week after one-time Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte became the head football coach at a St. Louis area school, Bollinger took over at Hill-Murray (Minn.) High.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bollinger agreed to become the new coach at Hill-Murray after he was contacted by the school's activities director, who read that he planned to retire. The two arranged a meeting, at which they discussed Hill-Murray's opening, and the longtime NFL backup and son of a football coach agreed to follow in his father's footsteps.
"I would say on some level I probably wanted to be a coach before I wanted to be a player," Bollinger told the Star Tribune. "Playing was always fun but really I was always around my dad and his staff and always looked up to those guys, as well as the players, and was around them a ton. ... I always knew that [coaching] was something that I'd like to do."
While the current opportunity may have come sooner than Bollinger anticipated, he said he was encouraged by the fact that it would be easier on his family. The Bollinger clan includes two sons aged 2 and 4, and a third child on the way. With their home in nearby Eagan, Minn., and Bollinger's extended family in North Dakota, the Hill-Murray job was a near-perfect geographic fit.
If those connected with Hill-Murray had any concern over whether Bollinger would get a Favre-like itch to return to his playing days, he made it abundantly clear that his age, 31, and a series of injuries in 2010 would keep him on the sidelines for the remainder of his professional life.
"I'm done playing," said Bollinger, who appeared in seven games and started once for the Vikings. "Regardless of the situation that came up or 'what ifs' there is no situation that I would play again. I obviously love the game. I love playing and I was fortunate to play as long as I did."