Bono tapped New UW Badger Head Coach

By TomM March 24, 2018 10:43

Bono tapped New UW Badger Head Coach


Welcome to the show: Bono ready for challenge
March 24, 2018 | by Andy Baggot

Chris Bono leaves South Dakota State wrestling for Wisconsin Badgers
Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Dakota Grappler Message Board

South Dakota State Athletics Website Release: Bono moves on to Wisconsin

Chris Bono To Be Named Head Coach At Wisconsin (Flowrestling report)

From Flowrestling Mar 24, 2018 Christian Pyles

“After six successful years at South Dakota State, Chris Bono is moving on to be the head coach at Wisconsin. Bono is replacing Barry Davis who spent 28 years at the helm before announcing his retirement shortly after the Big 10 wrestling championships.

During Bono’s six years at SDSU he built the program from relative obscurity to national prominence. Seth Gross made history at SDSU becoming the schools first division 1 finalist and this year NCAA champion. Bono sent 24 wrestlers to NCAA’s during his tenure and had 4 wrestlers earn All American honors.

The cupboard at SDSU is not bare, despite Bono’s departure. Seth Gross is back for his senior season, they have a solid recruiting class coming in as well as some tough guys still in the room like NCAA Qualifiers Connor Brown, Martin Mueller and Henry Pohlmeyer.”

The Bono ‘tape’…

The South Dakota State University Bio for Chris Bono

2017-18 Wrestling Coaching Staff
Chris Bono – Head Coach

Chris Bono has engineered a successful rebuilding process during his tenure as head coach of the South Dakota State University wrestling team and has the program’s sights set high for the 2017-18 campaign.

Entering his sixth season, Bono has helped mentor Jackrabbit wrestlers to qualify for the NCAA Championships 17 times, including a program-best five wrestlers during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. At the 2017 NCAA Championships, Seth Gross finished as runner-up at 133 pounds and Alex Kocer placed eighth at 149 pounds, giving SDSU its first All-Americans in the Division I era. As a team, the Jackrabbits posted their highest-ever finish at the NCAA Division I Championships with a 16th-place showing.

SDSU was ranked nationally for all but the first week of the 2016-17 season, climbing as high as No. 16 in the USA Today/NWCA Top 25. Facing a challenging schedule, the Jackrabbits posted a 14-5 dual record, including an 8-1 mark against Big 12 Conference opponents. SDSU also was selected as a host site for the 2017 NWCA National Duals Championship Series.

The Jackrabbits also notched a third-place finish at the 2017 Big 12 Wrestling Championship, with Seth Gross being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler after winning the 133-pound title. Bono was also honored as the Big 12 Coach of the Year.

In dual competition, Bono has led the Jackrabbits to a 50-39 record that includes three conseucutive winning seasons for the first time at the Division I level. Bono’s career dual record stands at 89-56, including a highly successful three-year run at Chattanooga.

The Jackrabbits entered a new era during the 2015-16 season by joining the Big 12 Conference as an affiliate member. After dropping early season duals to nationally ranked Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State and Iowa, the Jackrabbits reeled off a school-record 12 consecutive dual victories that propelled them into the top 25 of the Division I team rankings for the first time.

At the 2016 Big 12 Championship, SDSU turned in a fourth-place finish as Seth Gross (141 pounds), Cody Pack (157) and Nate Rotert (197) all finished as runners-up in their respective weight classes. That Jackrabbit trio were joined by brothers Alex and David Kocer from the 149- and 174-pound weight classes, respectively, as qualifiers for the NCAA Championships in New York City.

Four of the five Jackrabbit wrestlers won at least one match at the NCAA Championships as the Jackrabbits finished in a tie for 39th place. Gross and Pack each finished one win away from achieving All-America status. Pack was making his fourth consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships.

During the 2014-15 season, the Jackrabbits recorded their first winning dual in nine seasons and three SDSU wrestlers – Pack, Rotert and J.J. Everard – qualified for the NCAA Championships. Pack reached the national tournament for the third consecutive year at 157 pounds and was one win away from achieving All-America status.

The Jackrabbits turned in their highest finish at the NCAA West Regional/Western Wrestling Conference Championships with a third-place finish.

SDSU also had three NCAA qualifiers during the 2013-14 season as Pack, Joe Brewster and Alex Kocer all qualified out of the NCAA West Regional/Western Wrestling Conference Championships.

As a team, the Jacks finished in fifth place with 34.5 points at the NCAA West Regional/WWC Championship, with Kocer and Pack winning individual titles at 149 and 157 pounds, respectively.

In his first year as head coach at SDSU, Bono led the team to a 5-12 dual record, 1-4 Western Wrestling Conference record and fifth in the conference standings.

Coach Bono and the SDSU coaching staff ushered in a new era in Jackrabbit wrestling with the sixth-best recruiting class in the nation (The Open Mat, Amateur Wrestling News). Eight student-athletes joined the wrestling team on signing day, including three ranked by AWN. The No. 6 ranking made it the best recruiting class for any sport in the history of Jackrabbit athletics.

Bono was the first NCAA Division I wrestling coach to participate in the Samaritan’s Feet movement, coaching a dual barefoot against Simpson (Iowa) during the 2012-13 season to raise awareness for the organization, which provides shoes for needy children around the world.

While leading the Jackrabbits, Bono was also tabbed as coach for the U.S. Men’s Freestyle team at the 2013 Pan American Championships. In the world event, Bono led Team USA to a 13-point victory.

Under Bono’s leadership, the Jackrabbit wrestling program has consistently raised the bar in promoting the sport through innovative social media strategies. SDSU has received the Gold Standard honor from the National Wrestling Coaches Association and Elite Level Sport Marketing two times as part of their Best of Brand Awards.

His teams also have performed well in the classroom, placing in the top 25 for team grade-point average in rankings compiled by the National Wrestling Coaches Association each of the past two seasons. Individually, eight Jackrabbits wrestlers were honored on the 2016 Academic All-Big 12 Conference Wrestling Team.

Previously the head coach at Chattanooga, Bono led the Mocs to three Southern Conference titles and coached two All-Americans and 19 NCAA qualifiers from 2006-09. During his three seasons, UTC scheduled many nationally ranked teams. Bono coached the Mocs to wins over Ohio State in 2009 and 2010; the Buckeyes were ranked No. 8 at the time of the second loss.

Bono was named head coach at UTC on July 29, 2006, and wasted little time directing the Mocs to their 22nd Southern Conference championship. He coached nine wrestlers to the 2007 NCAA Championships, a feat matched only by Minnesota.

In his first season, Bono guided the Mocs to a 16-1 dual-match record, including an 11-match win streak to start the season and a victory at No. 14 Ohio State. He received high consideration for National Coach of the Year honors from

Bono joined the UTC staff in 2005 after serving nine years as an assistant coach at Iowa State. He was the Cyclones’ head assistant coach for five seasons.

In Bono’s final year on the ISU staff, the Cyclones earned a third-place finish in the Big 12 Conference and a sixth-place showing at the NCAA Championships. He was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002 for his role in ISU’s success.

Bono lettered at Iowa State from 1994-97 and ranks fifth on the program’s all-time wins list with 130 victories. He won the NCAA 150-pound title as a junior.

A four-time NCAA participant, Bono placed fifth at the NCAA Championships as a sophomore and second as a senior.  As a freshman, he finished eighth at the Big Eight Conference Championships and was runner-up finish his sophomore year. Bono won the Big Eight title as a junior and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the inaugural Big 12 Conference Championship in 1997. He was 115-17 his final three seasons.

Following his senior season, Bono wrestled as a freestyle competitor and defeated Doug Schwab, 5-4, to take third place at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Las Vegas, Nev.

In 2003, Bono won the 145.5-pound title at the U.S. Senior Freestyle National Championships in Las Vegas, qualifying for the World Team Trials in Indianapolis, Ind., where he was runner-up. Bono was a U.S. World Cup team member, earning the gold medal at the 2003 World Cup Wrestling Championships in Boise, Idaho, and was a member of the national team at the 2003 Titan Games in San Jose, Calif.

Bono earned the U.S. Senior Freestyle No. 1 national ranking at 145.5 pounds and a spot on the U.S. World Team. He began the year with a first-place showing at the Dave Schultz Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colo., followed by a fourth-place finish at the Kiev Grand Prix in Kiev, Ukraine. Bono won a bronze medal at the Pan American Championships in Caracara, Venezuela, and placed third at the U.S. Freestyle National Championships in Las Vegas, earning a berth to the World Team Trials.

At the 2002 World Team Trials, Bono swept through the mini-tournament beating Reggie Wright (Gator WC) of Colorado Springs, Colo., 3-1 and Schwab (Hawkeye WC) of Iowa City, Iowa, 3-2 to advance to the finals. In the 145.5-pound championship, Bono defeated Jamill Kelly (Gator WC) of Stillwater, Okla., 3-1 and 3-0, earning his second consecutive World Team Trials title.

In a special wrestle-off for the 145.5-pound spot on the 2002 U.S. World Team, Bono defeated Bill Zadick (Hawkeye WC) of Iowa City, Iowa, two matches to one, 2-3, 3-1, 3-2 (OT), to earn his second consecutive trip to the World Championships. However, the U.S. World Team did not compete at the World Championships in Tehran, Iran.

Bono captured top honors at the 2004 NYAC Invitational with a victory in the finals over 2004 NCAA champion Jesse Jantzen, formerly of Harvard. He also earned a 66-kilogram title at the 20th annual Sunkist International Open with a win in the finals over former 2003 NCAA 149-pound champion and current Arizona State assistant coach Eric Larkin.

Bono competed at the 2005 World Championships in September in Budapest, Hungary.  At the 2005 World Team Trials, Bono, the No. 1 seed, captured the title at 66 kilograms by defeating Jared Lawrence two matches to none.

In May of 2006, Bono beat Japan’s Kohei Fujimoto (1-0, 2-0), Uzbekistan’s Muradollo Ablokulov (2-4, 1-0, 2-0) and Russia’s Jirair Oganesyan (1-1, 5-4) at the Independence Cup Grand Prix in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  He finished with the silver medal after losing 0-1, 2-1, 1-1 to Russia’s Andrey Sementsov on a takedown with 14 seconds left in the final period. Sementsov was the reigning Junior European champion.

Bono won the 2007 U.S. Freestyle national title in Las Vegas and received an automatic bid to the World Team Trials. Seeded fourth at 145.5 pounds at Nationals, he defeated second-seeded Lawrence for the title. At the 2007 World Team Trials, Bono finished runner-up to Schwab in the finals by a 2-1 score. He lost in the challenge finals in Las Vegas at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Bono earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from Iowa State in 1997.

By TomM March 24, 2018 10:43


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