Coach Bono On The Record | A New Beginning | Part One

By TomM March 27, 2018 20:43

Coach Bono On The Record | A New Beginning | Part One

Coach Bono On The Record | A New Beginning | Part One

by Abigail Ruckdashel | Monday, March 26, 2018 Interview | Part One Posted March 27

Wisconsin Badger wrestling will see a change Badger fans are going to like. After 26 years at the helm, legendary coach, Barry Davis, resigned. Taking the place of Davis is place is Iowa Hall of Famer, Chris Bono.

Bono won an  individual National Championship in 1996 at Iowa State then coached on staff for the Cyclones. Next, he led the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga program for three seasons. Six years ago, he took over a dying South Dakota State program. In those six years, the team went from virtually unknown to placing 12th in the country this year. They had their first National Champion in Seth Gross to end the 17-18 season and Bono was named Big 12 Coach of the Year.

In the wrestling community, it was rumored Bono was the next guy in line for a “big” program. As soon as it was announced Davis was stepping down, Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez reached out to Bono. At the time, Bono didn’t realize he even had interest in the job, but has since become one of the most exciting changes Wisconsin Wrestling has seen in a long time.

There are a lot of questions surrounding the new skipper and his move to the Badger State, along with a lot of hype and excitement. Fortunately for us, here at Wisconsin Wrestling Online, we got to be some of the first to chat with Coach Bono and get a number of our most burning questions answered. We also asked some of the questions you wanted answered, and lucky for you we delivered.

Let’s start with the basics.

The first thing we wanted to know was how quickly this all was going to happen. After all, this was only confirmed on Saturday morning March 24th. According to Coach Bono, he has “a few loose ends” to tie up in Brookings, but he will officially be in Wisconsin on Monday, April 2.

He will bring his right-hand man in Head Assistant Coach, Jon Reader.  Reader is also a product of Iowa State and according to Coach Bono, is the “best practice partner any athlete could ask for.”

Bono remained mostly close-lipped on any other coaching staff or roster issues. However, he did say that he sees 125 lbs. as the spot most in need in the Wisconsin line up. He also talked about how he is a tough but fair coach, and expects maximum effort from his guys not only on the mat but in the classroom and in life.

“The first thing I look for in a recruit is that they have to be a good person. They need to have good character and be hard working.” The second thing is they need to be top-notch academically. If they decide going to class isn’t important and maintaining a 3.0 is not important, then they won’t be wrestling for me. The last thing I look for is obviously talent. We want good athletes,” he said.

Coach Bono also discussed his plan for keeping Wisconsin’s top high school talent in the state.

“We need to seal the boarders,” Coach Bono said. “I will work with the high school coaches with camps and things like that. I plan to have a relationship with every one of them. I want Wisconsin Wrestling shoved down our kids throats. Connections start at a younger age and we plan to do just that. We can’t let our most talented kids get away.”

Bono also mentioned working closely with Ben Askren and other elite club owners,  again to make sure the University of Wisconsin gets first dibs at our most talented wrestlers.

And finally, as we all know, Coach Bono has big plans for Wisconsin. He’s aiming for not only best in the Big Ten but best in the country. He sees Wisconsin in the top four in just two years. Plus, he has an impeccable track record with making his plans reality.

During his tenure at SDSU, Coach Bono managed to build a wrestling fan culture garnering over 6,000 fans for dual meets, numbers not seen in Wisconsin in years. Coach Bono has worked in marketing and uses that talent to brand and market his teams. He fully expects that the UW Field House will be rocking and at capacity if he has it his way.

We hope this answers some of your most burning questions. Check back for the full interview ‘word for word’ as well as hopefully the audio from the interview. We also hope you are just as excited as us for this new era of Wisconsin Wrestling. Please help us welcome Coach Chris Bono to Wisconsin. It’s sure to be amazing to have him in our corner.

By TomM March 27, 2018 20:43


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