2016 Purdue Football Coaching Search: John Bonamego
Candidate Tier: MAC-robatic
Who Is He?
Jon Bonamego has a terrific name which is incredibly fun to say, and is currently in his second year at Central Michigan, going 7-6 in 2015 (his first year as a head coach) and sitting at a very impressive 5-2 as of this publication.
After playing quarterback and wide receiver at CMU, Bonamego was a college assistant for 11 seasons at Maine, Lehigh, and Army. He then moved on to the NFL, where he served as Special Teams coach for the Jags, Packers, Saints (HEY DREW BREES PLAYS THERE), and Dolphins, and was tapped in 2015 to lead his alma mater after Dan Enos (also on this ridiculous coaching search list) didn’t capitalize on the amazing Dan LeFevour. Yes, I work a Dan LeFevour reference into everything I possibly can.
Bonamego is probably best known for his sideline dancing abilities during Week 2’s fluke victory against #22 OK State, where a Hail Mary and lateral stole the game during a final snap that wasn’t supposed to happen.
ESPN ran a really wonderful profile on Bonamego, a cancer survivor, last fall, and he seems to be an unbelievably endearing guy. Head coaches in the NFL seem to love him, and he functions with a certain infectious joyousness. I’m really in Bonamego’s corner, if you can’t tell.
Why would he be successful at Purdue?
Because Joy has been largely absent in Ross Ade Stadium ever since Danny Hope’s last upset of Ohio State. He also gets his team to routinely score 30+ points against respectable defenses, and absolutely has the charisma to recruit in the Big Ten.
Why could he flop at Purdue?
Because, honestly, who knows if he can recruit. Success with Coach Enos’ players is one thing, but sustaining that under your own recruits is a completely different matter.
Would he come to Purdue?
Actually, I don’t think so. At least, not for a while. He seems to coach football because it’s where he truly derives his strength through cancer treatments, and I can’t see a reason for him to ever leave Central Michigan while he’s successful. The CMU-Bonamego match seems perfect, and I really hope he succeeds, because he seems like a perfect fit for the “coach spends over a decade at his alma mater and gets a statue” mold. Long live John Bonamego.