BMHS athletic teams were hardly feared in the first several years of the school’s existence. By 1957, Hornet football was 1-11 and a punching bag for area schools. The record in other sports was not much better.
But there was a nucleus of spirited young men who were eager to win. Among them was John Ellis, who came to the front as a leader and athlete of exceptional ability in football, basketball and baseball.
Born on January 5, 1940, Ellis lettered in baseball, basketball and football. His list of “all” includes being named All-County Baseball, All-Catholic Baseball, All-County Basketball, All-Catholic Basketball, All-Mid-State Football, All-County Football, All-Catholic Football, All-State Second Team Football, All-Southern Honorable Mention.
Also, he set what was at the time an all-time scoring record for Orange County his senior year in basketball, scoring 553 points in a regular season. He set what was then the all-time three-year scoring record for Orange County in basketball, scoring 1,433 points.
He was named BMHS Athlete of the Year by the Knights of Columbus and MVP for the Brahman Bowl Game (which brought him scholarship offer to Florida State University). He received the Terry Brennan Award by the Notre Dame Club, an honor granted to the Catholic football player voted “best in Florida” (bringing him a scholarship to Noire Dame).
He was the fourth-leading scorer in the nation in football. By the end of his senior year, he had eight letters and was an officer for the Letterman’s Club. His coaches were Jon Tyson and Harry Meisel for football and Meisel for basketball as well.
An all-around good student, Ellis was a Mathematics Bowl contestant against all high schools in county and he won the 1958 BMHS religion award.
“My mother loved this!” he says.
He was a member of the National Honor Society and was vice president of his senior class. Ellis was in the Drama Club, the Glee Club and the Altar Boy Society for three years. He also was on the yearbook staff and a pep club member.
“Bishop Moore meant a lot to me,” he says. “It meant a lot of school spirit, many friendships over the years.”
His brothers Jim (Class of’59) and Jerry (Class of ‘68) also played sports at BMHS.
Ellis graduated from the University of Florida in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Today, he is the owner of Ellis Drug Store, a 32-year-old Orlando pharmacy. He and his wife, JoAnn, live in Orlando. His son John D. Ellis graduated from the University of Central Florida, and his daughter Jacqueline is a senior at UF.
He has managed and coached at Pinecastle Little League for 15 years and can boast of 11 championships and many district all-star championships for that team.