Wrestling Recruiting Questionnaire
Head Coach Heath Eslinger
Southern Conference Wrestling
Entering his third year as Head Wrestling Coach at the
Bono brings a wealth of experience to the role. As a competitor, his resume is world class. As a coach, experience in one of the sports’ top collegiate programs along with the early success as a head coach provide a foundation for taking the Chattanooga program to even greater heights.
Although the Mocs have 23 titles in their 31 years in the Southern Conference, Bono believes in the program’s ability to gain further national prominence. This is done by competing against the best and aggressive scheduling is at the heart of his plan.
During his three seasons, the Mocs have scheduled as many ranked teams as Bono can find. The “take on all comers” attitude has served to move the Mocs in the national limelight including wins over
Last season, the Mocs registered SoCon title No. 23 en route to qualifying eight wrestlers for the NCAA Championships. Cody Cleveland won All-America status at 141, while Lloyd Rogers (174) was named SoCon co-Wrestler of the Year.
Bono, who was named head coach on July 29, 2006, wasted little time, directing the Mocs to their 22nd Southern Conference championship and coaching nine NCAA Qualifiers in 2006-07. He took nine wrestlers to the 2007 NCAA Championships, a feat only matched by national-power
In his first season, Bono took the Mocs on a magical ride during the regular season. He guided the team 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 RevWrestling.com.
The 16 wins tied a school record for victories in a season. The Mocs .941 winning percentage was the fourth best all-time.
Bono is a former NCAA Wrestling Champion who was on the Mocs’ staff in 2005-06 as an assistant coach. He helped lead UTC to its 21st Southern Conference title and a 30th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. He was named the interim head coach in 2006.
Bono joined the UTC staff in 2005 after serving nine years as a wrestling assistant coach at national-power
During Bono’s final year on the ISU staff, he helped direct the Cyclones 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 Championships.
A native of
Bono, who lettered at
A four-time NCAA participant, he placed fifth at the Nationals as a sophomore and second as a senior. As a freshman, he placed eighth at the Big Eight Conference Championships. 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 (115-17 his final three seasons).
Bono’s wrestling success did not come to a halt upon his graduation from
Bono’s freestyle accomplishments in 2002 led to a 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
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
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
Bono also captured top honors at the 2004 NYAC Invitational with a victory in the finals over 2004 NCAA champion Jesse Jantzen, formerly of Harvard, and 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
In May of 2006, Bono beat
Bono won the 2007 U.S. Freestyle national title in
Bono earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science from
Bono by the Numbers
Southern Conference Wrestling