EDITORIAL: We wish Coach Bonamego the best
John Bonamego gave us enthusiasm and spirit.
As former head football coach at Central Michigan University, Bonamego replaced the dreadful Dan Enos years with the energy he and his wife, Paulette, brought into the community and university.
Known around campus as "Bono," he was beloved. When he was hired in 2015, he called coaching the Chippewas his “dream job.” For once, Chippewa fans realized they had a coach that genuinely wanted to be in Mount Pleasant for the long run.
Early in his tenure he was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. Bono inspired the community by waking up at 4 a.m. each day to make the two-and-a-half-hour trip to Ann Arbor and back for chemotherapy as part of his fight against the disease. After returning, he worked until about 4 p.m., then made the trip home.
On Nov. 18, 2015 after becoming bowl eligible with a 27-14 win over Kent State, Bonamego announced that he was cancer free. That diagnosis was a victory for Chippewas everywhere.
Not only did Bonamego lead the Chippewas to three bowl games, and a win over Western Michigan, but the 2017 team won eight games for the first time since 2009.
Despite being the most recognizable face on campus, Bonamego wasn’t able to produce the results on the field that matched the passion he has for his alma mater.
We want to wish him the best as he leaves CMU to begin a new chapter in his career and life.
Bonamego always treated Central Michigan Life reporters with respect, which isn't something come to expect from head football coaches. He made himself available to students on campus. Bono went out of the way to help students who weren't student athletes.
Three days after he was fired, the Chippewa head coach and Paulette pledged to match any donation made to a Central Michigan Life photographer’s attempt to pay off medical bills after brain surgery.
“(Paulette) and I have known (Alanna Sparks) since her freshman year — she is an incredibly courageous young lady,” Bonamego said.
Bono certainly had no obligation to help pay her medical bills – especially after he just lost his job. That he was so quickly willing to go out of his way to help someone, even in a time of hardship in his own life, says a lot about the authentic and compassionate person he is.
The success of coaches is measured by wins and loses. We don't measure people that way. From what we've seen and experienced from working with this man, Bono will always be one of our favorites who has worn the maroon and gold.
Thank you, coach.
We wish the Bonamego family all the best in the future.