Passionate Bonavia Takes the Helm as New Football Coach

by Jacob Bogage ‘12

Mike Bonavia walked into J153 and gazed out at 60 new faces in front of him. Wearing a grey t-shirt sporting the high school player development emblem, black shorts and tennis shoes, he placed his hands on his hips and smiled. The air conditioning had stalled inside Sherwood on a day when temperatures reached 94 degrees. Before he addressed the team prior to the beginning of outdoor workouts he wiped the sweat off his brow. “It’s hot in here,” he said. “That’s good. That will make outside feel easier to work in.”

Bonavia was hired March 4 after a three-month search for Marc Thomas’s long-term successor. A long-time Al Thomas assistant and former head coach at Richard Montgomery and Einstein, Bonavia exudes passion—a quality that comes from not only his experience, but his intensity as well.

“His passion for the sport and this team and the players has I think helped quell some of the doubts about him as a new coach,” and the fourth coach in as many years, said junior offensive lineman Connor Black.

Bonavia began the team gathering by commending his players for their hard work in the weight room that day, but scrutinized them for shirking other days. He lauded his rising senior class, whose leaders sat front and center five feet from him. The rest of the room was scattered with underclassmen hungry for a taste of varsity football. The Stormin’ Warriors lost 21 of 22 starters to graduation and 25 seniors total. He put his foot up on the stool stationed in the middle of the room and took roll without a list; reciting the names by memory and facial recognition. Bonavia found a program to prosper in.

“This is a young program, but I really like it,” he said. “There’s just a few things that we’ll have to change and a few things we’ll have to get after to change our mindset because right now it’s in limbo. But once we get that figured out, I think these guys will buy in. I like them. I think these guys are buying in.”

Bonavia calls himself “a players’ coach” and after roll call the mass of athletes shuffled out of the room one by one, each receiving a word of praise. He sat down in the office that on June 17 will officially be his and squinted at a depth chart. “Looks solid,” he said, “but it will get better.”