Chris Bono, formerly the head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga and a longtime assistant coach at Iowa State, has been hired as head wrestling coach at South Dakota State University, Jackrabbit Director of Athletics Justin Sell announced Tuesday.
“Chris was selected from an outstanding pool of candidates,” Sell said. “Chris brings tremendous credentials both as an athlete and a coach and we are excited about the passion he will bring for wrestling in support of our student-athletes. His hiring gives us an opportunity to build a nationally competitive program while maintaining our commitment to academics and community service.”
“I’d like to thank the search committee and Justin Sell for this opportunity,” Bono said. “It’s something I’m excited about and I am really fired up to get the program back on the map.”
Chris BonoAfter winning a national title and earning All-America honors three times during his collegiate wrestling career at Iowa State, Bono joined the Cyclone coaching staff in 1997 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2002. While at Iowa State, Bono recruited and coached four-time NCAA champion Cael Sanderson. He also was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002 in helping lead Iowa State to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships with five wrestlers earning All-America honors.
Bono moved on to Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2005 as the top assistant and was named head coach a year later. The Moccasins won three Southern Conference titles during his tenure and were ranked as high as 10th in the country during the 2008 season. He led Chattanooga to a 39-17 dual record, including a 16-1 mark during the 2006-07 season.
In 2009, Bono returned to Iowa State as an assistant coach for one season before stepping down to enter private business.
Bono has remained active in the wrestling community, conducting numerous camps and clinics across the country, as well as serving on the USA Wrestling Board of Directors.
As a collegiate wrestler, Bono won a national title at 150 pounds in 1996 and claimed a runner-up finish in 1997. He also won both Big 8 and Big 12 conference titles en route to 130 career victories.
Bono continued to compete nationally and internationally after graduating from Iowa State with a degree in exercise and sport science. He was an alternate for the 2000 U.S. Olympic team and was a member of the U.S. World Championships team in 2001, 2002 and 2005.