He played college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was the starting center from 1973 to 1975. The 1974 team was ranked at 10th in the nation, and featured a school record 22 game winning streak. The Panthers unltimately lost in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Following graduation, he served as an assistant coach on both the men and women's squads.
Bolla coached for 14 years at UNLV, compiling a 300-120 (.714) record, including seven NCAA tournament appearances, and 11 20-win seasons. During the 1989-1990 season, UNLV moved to second in the nation, the highest ranking in school history. That team finished with a 28-3 record, the best mark in school history. He is a three time Big West coach of the year award winner, because of his work at UNLV. He coached six all-americans, three Big West player of the year winners, and 24 all conference selections. UNLV won seven Big West titles under his leadership. He served as the athletic director at UNLV after coaching there from 1996-2004.
Bolla is married to Dallas Boychuk, with whom he has a daughter named Sasha.