On Tuesday night at Gainesville High, prior to its home game against defending 1A state champion Trenton, the GHS softball program recognized long-time Hurricanes’ Athletic Director Cindy Boulware for all of her contributions by naming the field after her.
She was honored for her 42 years of service at GHS.
In front of close family and friends, coaches that worked with her for a long time, and some of her former coaches who worked with her, GHS announced its new facility as “Boulware Ballpark,” which will feature Boulware’s name above the scoreboard.
“It’s a reflection of years spent out here on this ball field, and on the other ball field, the years as a player, and the building of a program watching Coach Chronister and his current teams and the success that they’ve had, and just being proud of Gainesville High School and the athletic program that we have here,” Boulware said.
She was presented with a plaque that read, “The CJ Boulware Softball Complex.”
“She’s had a huge impact on me personally as a coach here for 14 years, and countless of students over the years, not to mention her Hall of Fame career, so we just wanted to let her know how much we appreciated all of her contributions, and how much we love her and wish her well in her retirement,” said Phillip Knight, who is taking over as the Hurricanes’ AD.
Boulware is a 1977 graduate of GHS. She earned eight varsity letters as an athlete at her alma mater.
After her graduation, she went to Flagler College and played basketball and softball for two years. She then transferred to the University of Florida and also played softball there.
Boulware is one of three Gainesville High softball players who have gone on to play for the Gators, joining Jenilee Garner and Katie Chronister.
“Softball is a love of hers so it’s a great honor for her, but well deserved as well,” said current GHS softball coach Chris Chronister.
Boulware was hired at GHS during the 1983-84 school year and she has remained there ever since.
During that time, she coached basketball, softball, and volleyball, and she has been the Hurricanes’ AD for the last 20 years.
As a volleyball coach, her teams made it to 10 Final Fours and won three state championships.
In 2012, she was inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
After announcing all of her accomplishments Knight finished addressing the crowd by saying, “there are a lot of numbers we could probably throw out, we could talk about wins, we could talk about maybe how many times she drug this field and mowed the outfield and swept the gym floor, but the one thing, Coach, that we’ll never be able to explain is the impact on the number of people that you’ve impacted in your career here and the number of people whose lives you’ve touched and changed, and we want you to know that we appreciate all you’ve done, that we love you, and we know you’re going to have a great retirement.”
While the numbers speak for themselves, Boulware said it was much more than that.
“It’s nice to be recognized for the years spent, but I just want to make a point that a lot of people went into the programs here, a lot of teachers, a lot of coaches, and the many different student-athletes, and we’ve had relationships along the way that have made it very special,” Boulware said.