Although he has yet to coach a dual at South Dakota State, wrestling coach Chris Bono is clearly an active guy. He’s on the move again this week, attending the NWCA Leadership Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A former national champ at Iowa State, Bono said that he was asked to participate in the program. The duties that go along with being among the 45 included, per the NWCA site:
- Complete 10 (2-hour) online modules that promote important CEO principles along with best practices for improving the retention and graduation rates of wrestlers.
- Complete a “program assessment survey” to identify specific aspects of a college team that may result in the program being vulnerable to being discontinued.
- Complete a 360 evaluation in an effort to understand how administrators, wrestlers, alumni, and parents view the coach’s proficiency in various areas.
- Attend a 3 day Academy workshop where a facilitator conducts small group discussions with participating coaches and mentors to help Academy participants customize the general concepts learned in the online modules to meet their needs on their respective campuses.
- Participate in a mentoring program whereby the coach can receive ongoing guidance from a seasoned, veteran coach and/or athletic administrator.
- Assemble a portfolio to demonstrate that all key program areas are at or above an acceptable standard.
That’s … a lot. But, according to Bono, the real theme is marketing and branding a wrestling program, something the sport needs to do more of in order to avoid losing teams. The academy is more about business than take downs.
To that end, Bono already has some ideas in motion, including weekly videos of what’s going on with the program, social media updates and luncheons for fans and boosters. That won’t win matches in the short term, but it could generate interest and momentum.
"It’s nice because they pay all your expenses, too," said Bono, who will stay in Florida after the leadership academy to attend the NWCA national convention. "Hopefully, I can get our two assistants in the program next year. It’s a good thing."
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.