June 04. 2009 11:31PM
Jackson lures Bono back to ISU
Chris Bono ISU lead assistant
Ex-ISU wrestler quits head coach job for lead assistant gig
For The Gazette
AMES ? Coaches don?t often accept a pay cut and step down in rank.
Chris Bono jumped at the chance.
Bono was introduced Thursday as Iowa State wrestling coach Kevin Jackson?s lead assistant, a pairing both men were excited about from the time the idea was hatched.
?To get the chance to come home and work under Kevin, I wouldn?t have done it for any other coach or for any other school,? Bono said. ?Put the coach and the school (together) ... it was meant to be.?
The former Cyclone All-American and NCAA champion spent the last three seasons as head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga. Bono spent nine seasons in Ames on Bobby Douglas? staff after his ISU wrestling career.
He and his family are happy to be back in the state.
?My kids are excited to get an ice cream from Coldstone,? Bono said. ?That wasn?t here when we were.?
Jackson helped coach Bono for years as the national freestyle coach at USA Wrestling. They were together a few times in a wrestler?s corner at last weekend?s World Team Trials in Council Bluffs.
Bono, 35, decided recently to retire from international competition to focus on coaching. He interviewed with Athletics Director Jamie Pollard to be Iowa State?s head coach, a job that went to his buddy Jackson.
Bono will oversee the Cyclones? middle weights.
?For him to leave a head coaching position ... it?s unbelievable,? Jackson said. ?It shows his passion, his love, his want to be part of a national championship team and program. He?s a Cyclone, and he understands my philosophy both tactically and technically.?
Also joining ISU?s staff is three-time U.S. World Team member and longtime coach at Columbia University Yero Washington.
Washington, 35, also is recently retired. He?ll look after the lower weights and train with senior-level wrestlers who?ll be in the room as Jackson builds up to his idea of an Olympic training site in Ames.
Jackson also helped train Washington ? whose East and West Coast recruiting ties also are a big plus ? during his post-collegiate freestyle career.
?I was immediately interested,? Washington said. ?I think (Kevin) is a tremendous leader and has a strong vision for where he wants to take the program.?
Bono?s assistant coach at UTC, former Cyclone Nate Gallick, had already accepted a position as a volunteer assistant while he trains for his own career.
Jackson said he has had wrestlers verbally commit to be a part of his year-round training center.
Most of them are either participating or helping train for the Sept. 21-27 World Championships in Herning, Denmark, and will not be in Ames permanently until after that time. Jackson didn?t name names but there will be wrestlers at heavier weights to compliment Bono, Washington and Gallick.
?That?s going to complete our overall program. It?s a work in progress,? he said.
Jackson said the roster he has right now ? counting incoming recruits Trent Weatherman and Boaz Beard ? will be the one he enters the season with.
All-American Cyler Sanderson and NCAA qualifier Tyler Clark have been released from their scholarship and are free to transfer. That should be it, Jackson said.
?I?m pretty confident that no one else will leave. It hurt us to lose those two guys,? he said.
Sanderson is following brothers Cael and Cody to Penn State. He will be able to wrestle immediately.
Clark has not publicly said where he is continuing his career.
The Cyclones return eight starters from last year?s team that took third at the NCAA Championships. They should be in contention for their first national title since 1987.
?There?s a lot of work to be done and holes to fill,? Bono said. ?It?s going to be a whole new system for them and a style of wrestling. We are going to work our tails off.?