Deromedi will present honor to CMU football coach next week
The Chippewas look to bounce back against Monmouth.
USATSI Gallery - Central Michigan at Boston College
Central Michigan vs. Syracuse - September 16, 2017
CMU Football vs. Kansas
The Chippewas fall to Tulsa in the Miami Beach Bowl, on December 19, 2016.
Photos from Central Michigan @ Virginia on September 24, 2016.
Bonamego became the 28th head coach in Central Michigan football history on Feb. 8, 2015. He played at CMU for the legendary Herb Deromedi in the mid 1980s, and he proclaimed the position his “dream job” as he became the first CMU alum to lead the program since Bill Kelly from 1951-66.
Just months after being named to lead the Chippewas, Bonamego was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Bonamego was pronounced cancer free in November 2015, just as the Chippewas were surging down the stretch, winning five of their last six regular-season games.
Bonamego led the Chippewas to an 8-5 finish including 6-2 in the Mid-American Conference in 2017, and to a berth in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Included in CMU’s victories was a 45-28 road triumph over Big 12 member Kansas, and a mid-late season surge during which the Chippewas won six of seven games.
Among the Chippewas’ wins was a dramatic come-from-behind 35-28 victory over bitter rival Western Michigan in Kalamazoo before a national television audience.
CMU also topped in-state rival Eastern Michigan. That victory, coupled with the win over Western, gave the Chippewas the Michigan MAC Trophy.
In his first season in charge of the program, Bonamego led the Chippewas to a 7-6 finish, the Mid-American Conference West Division championship and a berth in the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.
In 2016, CMU stunned No. 22-ranked Oklahoma State, winning on a no-time-on-the-clock final catch and lateral touchdown. The play was featured for days on televised sports shows and discussion over the penalty that led to CMU’s last-gasp play continued throughout the season. The Chippewas finished the season with an appearance in the Miami Beach Bowl.
CMU placed 13 players on the Academic All-MAC football team in 2017, and nine were named to the all-conference team. Two of those players, cornerback Amari Coleman and defensive end Joe Ostman, landed on the All-MAC First Team Defense.
Overall, 45 CMU players have earned Academic All-MAC honors and 23 have been named to All-MAC teams in Bonamego’s three seasons at CMU.
Among the standouts who have been mentored by Bonamego at CMU is quarterback Cooper Rush, who is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Tight end Tyler Conklin was selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, and wide receiver Mark Chapman was taken by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with the first overall pick in the 2018 CFL Draft.
CMU is one of six institutions to have produced both a No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and a No. 1 pick in the CFL Draft.
Under Bonamego, the CMU football program continues to lend a hand in the Mount Pleasant Community and the region. Players and coaches volunteer for the annual Special Olympics games each spring, and helped with renovations and cleanup in March at Eagle Village, a home for teens, in Hersey, Mich.
Prior to taking the reins of the CMU program, Bonamego, who graduated from Paw Paw High School in southwest Michigan, spent 16 years in the National Football League as an assistant, primarily as a special teams coordinator. His NFL stops:
• Detroit Lions, 2013-14, special teams coordinator. He helped punter Sam Martin record the top-two single-season marks for net punting average in team history with a 40.4-yard average in 2013 and a 40.1 mark in 2014.
• Jacksonville Jaguars, 2012, special teams coordinator. He was instrumental in the development of rookie punter Bryan Anger, who set franchise records for punting average (47.8) and net punting average (40.8), with both totals leading all rookie punters.
• New Orleans Saints, 2011, assistant special teams coordinator in a year the Saints went 13-3.
• Miami Dolphins, 2008-10, special teams coordinator. Bonamego developed young specialists, including kicker Dan Carpenter, punter Brandon Fields, and kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. Carpenter was selected to the 2009 Pro Bowl after making 25 of 28 field goals. Fields set a franchise record for net punting average (39.9), and Ginn was the first NFL player in 42 years to have two returns for touchdowns in the same quarter. The Dolphins won the 2008 AFC East crown as they put together the biggest turnaround in NFL history, going from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 in ’08.
• New Orleans Saints, 2006-07, special teams coordinator. Bonamego was part of one of the most important games in NFL history: the first post-Katrina game in the Superdome. The Saints’ Steve Gleason blocked a punt vs. Atlanta, and the ball was recovered for a touchdown in the first quarter. New Orleans also blocked a field goal later in that game.
• Green Bay Packers, 2003-05, special teams coordinator. The Packers had four game-winning field goals in 2004, the most by the team since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
• Jacksonville Jaguars, 1999-2001, assistant special teams coach. Bonamego worked as the assistant special teams coach under legendary NFL special teams coach Frank Gansz and was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2002. In Bonamego’s first season as the Jaguars’ special teams coordinator, the unit was ranked third by the Dallas Morning News. The Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship game in 1999 after winning the AFC Central title.
Bonamego earned his degree in health fitness from CMU in 1987 and turned to coaching immediately. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Central Michigan after serving as the university’s commencement speaker in May 2009.
He got his start in college coaching as an assistant at Maine from 1988-91. He went to Lehigh in 1992, and spent five years as an assistant with Army from 1993-98.
During his time at Army, the Black Knights beat Navy five of six times, and finished 10-2 in 1996, recording the only 10-win season in school history. Army played Auburn that season in the Poulan/Weed Eater Independence Bowl and finished in the top 25 in both major polls.
He was a player/coach for a football team in Verona, Italy, in spring of 1987 and was the junior varsity co-coach at Mount Pleasant High School in the fall of that year.
Bonamego and his wife, Paulette, have three children, Javier, Giovanni and Bellina.