USA Wrestling Lock Haven announces...

Lock Haven announces Rocky Bonomo as new Head Wrestling Coach

By Danielle Barney | April 18, 2002, 12 a.m. (ET)

(Lock Haven, Pa.) - Anthony "Rocky" Bonomo has been named Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania's head wrestling coach, as announced by the Department of Athletics today. Bonomo, an assistant to the Bald Eagles' Division I wrestling program since 1990, succeeds Carl Poff, head coach for the past 12 years, who resigned his coaching duties last week. Bonomo becomes the ninth head coach of Lock Haven wrestling since the beginning of the program in 1939. "Carl has kept the program at a high level and has brought a positive reflection to Lock Haven University through wrestling," said Director of Athletics Sharon E. Taylor. "His assistant through all of it was Rocky. It is my pleasure to announce that Rocky is the new head coach of wrestling at Lock Haven University. I don't think any of us could be happier that he has decided to stay." A 1987 graduate of Bloomsburg University, Bonomo is currently working towards his Masters Degree in the Liberal Arts program at Lock Haven University. He obtained the assistant coaching position with the Bald Eagles in 1990, assisting the Division I program in all phases of operation, including teaching, recruiting, academic monitoring, and fundraising. Prior to coming to Lock Haven, Bonomo was an assistant at Bucknell University. Bonomo had an outstanding wrestling career at Bloomsburg, twice earning All-America status (8th at 126 lbs. in 1986, 4th at 126 lbs. in 1987). He was a three-time Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) champion and a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) champion. He ranks fourth among the Huskies' all-time Top 10 Win Club, having compiled a career mark of 110-19-0 from 1984-87. Bonomo was inducted into the Bloomsburg University Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2000. "I have enormous respect for Carl Poff, and I am both excited and proud that Rocky is moving up to take on head coaching responsibilities," said Lock Haven President Dr. Craig Dean Willis. "He is well-respected by his peers as a coach and as a person. Rocky's high energy and his ability to recruit quality student-athletes will continue to be a positive addition to the program." On the announcement of his elevation to head coach status, Bonomo expressed his excitement and gratitude to all who have helped him get to this point. "I would first like to thank the Lord for the opportunity, that's been a key force in my life," said Bonomo. "I would also like to thank Carl Poff for bringing me along. I've rode on his coattails for 12 years, and he's been a great coach and an even better friend." Asked about replacing Coach Poff, Bonomo commented, "You don't replace a guy like him. I am just going to do my best to make everyone associated with the University proud." "I have had the best 12 years of my life here," he continued. "I've gotten to spend time working with Carl and Wally (Kocher), and the support I've received from President Willis and Sharon Taylor has been incredible. Lock Haven has been my home." "As far as the state of the program, we lost a lot in our five seniors, but there is still a lot of talent in the room," said Bonomo. "Looking at the lineups, and we could be very solid again." In Bonomo's 12 seasons as an assistant coach under Carl Poff, the Bald Eagles established a 167-62-3 dual meet record and have had three top-15 finishes at the NCAA Division I level. With his assistance, the Lock Haven program has yielded four PSAC championships and one EWL tournament title. Ten individuals have combined to earn 14 All-America awards during that time. LHU former head coach Carl Poff resigned last week in order to spend more time with his family along with focusing on his position as a full-time faculty member in the Health and Physical Education Department at the University. A national search is opening to fill the now vacant assistant wrestling coach position.