ISU wrestling assistant Chris Bono joins UTC staff

Iowa State assistant head wrestling coach Chris Bono has accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, UTC Head Coach Joey Seay announced Thursday. Iowa State head coach Bobby Douglas says Bono, who has been an assistant coach at Iowa State the last eight years, will be missed.

"Chris has been such a huge part of what we have done here," Douglas said.  "He has been a Cyclone all the way and I have enjoyed coaching him and coaching with him.  The guy is on the U.S. freestyle team.  You just don't replace people of that quality.  Chris has already had a great wrestling career and there are more accomplishments out there for him in the sport as a competitor and as a coach."

Bono is expected to coach the Mocs' middleweight wrestlers.

"It will be hard to leave Iowa State," Bono said. "The Cyclone wrestling team and the University in general have meant so much to our family.  Iowa State will always be a part of me.  This is a opportunity for me to further spread my wings."

A member of Douglas' coaching staff since 1997, Bono has held the title of the Cyclones' assistant head coach for five years.  He helped ISU to a 16-4 dual match record in 2004-05, a third-place finish in the Big 12 Conference and a sixth-place showing at the 2005 NCAA Championship.

Bono is currently preparing to compete at the 2005 World Championships, which will take place Sept. 26 in Budapest, Hungary.  At the 2005 World Team Trials, seeded No. 1, Bono captured the title at 66 kilograms by defeating Jared Lawrence two matches to none.  Seay is the head coach of the United States team.

"I am thrilled that he has decided to take this position," Seay said.  "He is another quality individual for our program and gives us, in my opinion, the best staff in the country.  You have to have the right people in the right places.  These guys will make this thing happen and will certainly help in our nationwide recruiting efforts."

Bono joins former Cyclone Steve Hamilton, Sammie Henson and Leonce Crump as members of Seay's first staff at UTC.

A Florida native, Bono holds many coaching and competitive honors.  He was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002.  The Cyclones compiled a 17-5 dual match record and were NCAA runners-up with five wrestlers earning All-America status.

Bono, who lettered at Iowa State from 1994-97, 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, he placed fifth at the national collegiate tournament as a sophomore and second as a senior.  He wrestled to a Big Eight Conference runner-up finish his sophomore year, 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 registered a 41-11 record as a sophomore, went 37-4 as a junior and was 37-2 his senior season.

Bono's wrestling success did not come to a halt upon his graduation from Iowa State.  During the summer of 2004 as a freestyle competitor, Bono decisioned Doug Schwab, 5-4, to take third place at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Las Vegas, Nevada.  In 2003, Bono won the 145.5-pound title at the U.S. Senior Freestyle National Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, qualifying for the World Team Trials in Indianapolis, Ind., where he was runner-up at that same weight.  He 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's freestyle accomplishments in 2002 led to a No.1 U.S. Senior Freestyle 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 tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., followed by a fourth-place finish at the Kiev Grand Prix in Kiev, Ukraine.  He 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, Nevada, earning a berth to the World Team Trials.

At the 2002 World Team Trials, Bono swept through the mini-tournament beating Reggie Wright 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 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 two matches to one, (2-3, 3-1, 3-2 OT), to earn his second consecutive trip to the World Championships.  The U.S. World Team, however, did not compete at the World Championships in Tehran, Iran.

Bono also captured top honors at the 2004 NYAC Invitational with a victory in the finals over 2004 NCAA champion Jesse Jantzen and also earned a 66 kg. 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 earned his bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science from Iowa State in 1997. He and his wife, Niki, have two daughters, Josie and Ellie.

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