Belgreen alum shines as ‘super fan’ of alma mater
If there was a fan a school could call a Super Fan, it would be Jason Bolton at Belgreen.
Bolton is a 2007 graduate of Belgreen High School. Basketball is one of his loves, and one doesn’t have to look very long at a Belgreen basketball game to find Bolton cheering the school on or helping Coach Chad Green with his varsity girls basketball team as the team’s manager.
“I met Jason in 2003 when I was coaching junior high boys at Belgreen. He was 15 years old,” recalled Green. “He is an absolute joy to have around. He loves basketball, and he loves Belgreen.
“He is always willing to help,” Green added. “He will bring the team towels; get them water; sometimes he will give a pre–game speech and even draw up some plays for me.”
Former Belgreen basketball coach and principal Steve Pounders said he has fond memories of Bolton.
“Jason was a super student. He loved basketball. I wish he could have played more,” said Pounders. “He has always been a Belgreen supporter. His mother and daddy were always very supportive of him. They would provide a lot of towels for the teams. Jason was so proud just to be a part of the program.”
For his part, Bolton said he just likes to be there to support the Bulldogs.
“I always like playing basketball and watching the team play. Plus, I get to be with my friends,” said Bolton. “I help out as the team manager when I can. If they need help, I like to help.”
Bolton said he especially likes to help his former teachers and coaches like Green and current Belgreen principal Derek Ergle.
“I like to pick on them. They were my teachers and coaches in school. They are crazy,” said Bolton.
“Jason Bolton is a staple in the Belgreen community. He was one of my first students in 2004 that I really bonded with quickly,” said Ergle. “He has and will always be my right–hand man when it comes to having someone around school to keep me on my toes.
“He played on my baseball teams at Belgreen when I first got into coaching. He would later serve as my volunteer assistant coach on many occasions. He loves everything about school – especially athletics.”
Bolton will always be associated with Belgreen basketball, but because Ergle and Green had stints at Tharptown, Bolton now calls the Wildcats his second home.
“Jason has always been and will always be a Belgreen Bulldog, but in the summer 2007, when I transferred to Tharptown,” Ergle explained, “he slowly but surely followed me there to soon became a Wildcat as well.
“I feel very fortunate to have Jason in my life, as do so many others. His father Harold and mother Virginia are always there to support him in all his endeavors. I’m very thankful to know them and consider Jason as one of my own.
“Jason is one of those people in my life that can always put a smile on my face and never be afraid to tell it like it is. I feel very blessed to know Jason and to see the positive impact he has made on so many other people.”
Tharptown boys basketball coach Shannon Benford said Bolton is always welcome to be a part of the Wildcat program.
“Jason just loves people and loves to be around the game,” said Benford. “He would help anyone he could if they needed him. He is everyone’s friend, and we all love for him to be at our games.”
Perhaps ironically, one of Benford’s favorite memories of Bolton was when he was an assistant coach at Belgreen under Wes Hester, who is now the principal at Thompson High School in the Birmingham area.
“I will never forget it,” Benford recalled. “We suited him up at Covenant Christian, I believe. He hit like four three-pointers in a row. That was one of the greatest moments I have ever had coaching.”
When Belgreen and Tharptown play each other, Bolton has a shirt for that. It says “Bull Cat” and “Wild Dog.”
In another bit of irony, Bolton said the game he remembers the most is the Tharptown and Belgreen girls game in 2009, which went into multiple overtimes.
“That game was so exciting,” recalled Bolton. “There were some very good players for both teams, like Holly Hines and Autumn Hatton at Tharptown and Erica Smith and Kaitlyn Barber at Belgreen.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced Bolton, like many others, to be very conscious about crowds. Bolton, who has some health issues that require him to be extra vigilant, said he is not going to stay away from the thrill of basketball.
“It is what I love,” said Bolton. “I want to be around my friends and watch basketball and help coach.”
He also has some advice for the players on his favorite teams.
“You can do anything you put your mind to,” said Bolton. “Play hard and do the best you can as a team.”