top of page
  • Writer's pictureCory Kundert

Episode 2 Spotlight - Chris Bono - Head Wrestling Coach - Wisconsin Badgers

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

Chris Bono has traveled the world competing and coaching in a sport he loves: wrestling. He's built a career that most wrestlers and coaches would dream of. He's a three-time state champion from Florida, a three-time All-American and NCAA Champion from Iowa State, and represented the United States three times on the world stage. It's safe to say, Coach Bono has accomplished a lot on the mat. While still trying to make World and Olympic teams, Coach Bono was an Assistant Coach at Iowa State and eventually became the Head Coach of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After three years, Coach Bono stepped away from the sport of wrestling.

For sixteen months, Coach Bono sold medical devices. For someone who lived and breathed wrestling, it had to be a tough transition. He did learn some valuable skills throughout that time that he still uses today in his coaching career. After those sixteen months, Coach Bono was hired as the Head Coach of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. At the time of his hire, South Dakota State was near the bottom of the Division 1 wrestling world. In Coach Bono's first year, he took one wrestler to the NCAA tournament. Six years later, they finished as the 12th best team in the entire country. In those six years, Coach Bono & company truly built up their program from one of the lower ranked teams in the country to a top 12 team.

With all of Coach Bono's success, it was only a matter of time that he would get an opportunity to lead a major college wrestling program. In 2018, that opportunity came. He was hired as the 16th Head Coach in Wisconsin Badger wrestling history. He brought along his top assistant from South Dakota State, Jon Reader. Coach Reader has been an instrumental part of Coach Bono's life. Coach Bono spent some time on Episode 2 of Wisco Legacy talking about the impact that Coach Reader has had on his life.

Both Coach Bono and Coach Reader recently completed the Badger Trail Run. The Badger Trail Run is 100 miles long! We talked about some of the struggles that they encountered, the life lessons they learned, and finally how his perspective on life changed after completing the 100 mile race. We didn't dive too deep into the ins and outs of the race, as they've been on other podcasts talking about it. Below is a link to an episode of Wrestling Changed My Life with both Coach Bono and Coach Reader.

I had a blast talking to Coach Bono. He brings lots of fire and energy to the Badger Wrestling program! I can't wait to see how far the Badger Wrestling program can climb under Coach Bono's leadership.

To find more information about Coach Bono, you can click on the link to his bio on You can also follow him on both Twitter and Instagram at the links below.

Episode 2 drops on Tuesday, September 28th. You can find the video version on the Wisco Legacy YouTube channel and the audio version wherever you listen to podcasts. If you like this episode, please rate and review the podcast. It would mean the world to me!


bottom of page