Former Mocs Coach Chris Bono Returns to Chattanooga

Brings SD State to Southern Scuffle

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - by B.B. Branton

Chris Bono has a new lease on his wrestling life and so do the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State.

The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling coach was out of college coaching for two years (working in private business) when the South Dakota State job opened up this past spring and quicker than taking an opponent off his feet and to his back, Bono had pinned down the head coaching job and breathing new life into a struggling program.

“I knew I wanted to coach again at the college level, but only as a head coach,” said Bono.

“The school administration and the community are very supportive of our wrestling program, there is a huge youth program here and Brookings is a wonderful place to live and raise a family,” said Bono whose assistant coach is former UTC assistant and Southern Conference champion Israel Silva.

“South Dakota State had the nation's sixth best recruiting class this fall as we signed six quality high school wrestlers, including Brandon Brunner (three-time D-II state champion) from Baylor School so we are off to a good start in building a strong program.”

Returning to Chattanooga: Bono looks forward to seeing many friends in the Chattanooga wrestling community next week – Southern Scuffle is Jan. 1-2 at McKenzie Arena – but his main focus is how his wrestlers do against some of the top wrestles in the nation

“Chattanooga was good to me and my family while I was there for four years (three as the head coach) and I am excited about being back next week,” said Bono in a phone conversation earlier this week.

“We start five freshmen, but after two months of college wrestling under their belts they are not freshmen any longer and we need to see where we stand at the Scuffle,” he stated.

“With many of the top teams in the nation in one arena it’s going to be a great test for us.”

Southern Scuffle: Arguably the best in-season college wrestling tournament in the nation, the Southern Scuffle brings to McKenzie Arena (Jan. 1-2) the top three teams in the nation – Penn State (2012 NCAA champion), Oklahoma State and Minnesota  – plus No. 6 Missouri, No 8 Cornell, No. 11 Va. Tech and No. 20 Virginia in the 22-team field.

The former Iowa State NCAA champion knows what it takes to produce a national-caliber program as he led UTC to three straight Southern Conference championships (2007-09), had two All-Americans (Matt Keller and Cody Cleveland), a No.20 finish at the NCAAs in 2007 and had wins over nationally-ranked Ohio State, twice.

While Chattanooga is a hotbed for Southern wrestling, Bono feels the same about South Dakota in the Midwest.

“South Dakota State is in a great recruiting area as we are 20 minutes from Minnesota and 40 minutes from Iowa where I wrestled in high school and college and high school wrestling is strong in South Dakota,” he stated.

Southern Scuffle Info: Jan. 1-2 at McKenzie Arena …

General Admission Tickets: Students - $5 … Adults  $15.

Jan. 1 – wrestling starts at 10 a.m.

6:30 p.m. - championship quarterfinals

Jan 2 – Noon – championship semis

6 p.m. - championship finals


contact B.B Branton at

JOHN HUNT: Giving Thanks On Another Beautiful Day

Well, here we are again.   Where has that last year gone in such a hurry? As has been the case in recent years, I’m following in Roy Exum’s footsteps with my many reasons to be thankful. Among other things, I AM THANKFUL that I woke up today without a hangover.   It’s been almost 22 years since and I hope I never forget just how bad that last one was. ... (click for more)

Complete Results For 2015 Turkey Trot 8K

**** OVERALL FEMALE **** Place Name                 Ag Div   Hometown             Guntime Pace     ===== ==================== == ===== ==================== ======= =====     1 Jessica ... (click for more)

Christina Strickland, 35, Shot On Thursday

Christina Strickland, 35, was shot on Thursday.  Chattanooga Police were informed that a shooting victim had arrived by personal vehicle at a local hospital. A Violent Crimes investigator responded and interviewed her. She  suffered a single non-life threatening injury to the ankle. She  was unable to provide any information about her location when she was injured ... (click for more)

Family Escapes Early Morning House Fire

A home was damaged by fire early Thursday morning.  The Chattanooga Fire Department received a fire call at  3:48  a.m.  and responded to 1825 Dixon Street with four fire companies. The family inside the home was awakened by a passerby knocking at the door. All of them quickly made their way outside the home to safety.  Once firefighters ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Why I Am Thankful, 2015

I can’t really remember when I first started this – sometime in the 1970s – but my favorite column every year comes during Thanksgiving when I literally pause and use my fingers to thank God for all His richest blessings. The year 2015 has been bountiful so here are just a few of the things I will carry in my heart as I take my place at today’s table: I AM THANKFUL that tomorrow, ... (click for more)