Bob Bonn to retire after 26 years as director of athletics

CARTHAGE COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Bob Bonn to retire after 26 years as director of athletics

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Credited for 'reviving and building' competitive NCAA Division III program, he added nine sports and several top facilities

I’ve just been on watch. The accomplishments, that’s just a tremendous group effort.

Bob Bonn

Bob Bonn, who has piloted Carthage’s intercollegiate sports program throughout its 25-year upward arc, plans to retire as director of athletics next summer.
“I’ve been extremely proud and fortunate to be part of the Carthage community,” he said. “I don’t know another college in America that has gone through the improvement and development that ours has.”
Bonn, 65, chose to make the announcement months in advance to give the College plenty of time to identify his successor.
“Although I've been here only a short time, I am in awe of the program that Bob Bonn has built at Carthage,” said President John R. Swallow, who took office in July. “I know we will miss him tremendously, but no one could be more deserving of the chance to enjoy the next chapter in life.”
Under Bonn’s leadership, Carthage has added nine sports for a total of 24 NCAA Division III teams. Likewise, most of the school’s 115 banners — signifying conference championships and top-eight national finishes — have been raised in that span.
“I’ve just been on watch,” he said. “The accomplishments, that’s just a tremendous group effort.”
President emeritus F. Gregory Campbell brought the young coach and administrator to Carthage in 1992 from Pacific University. Recruiting under Bonn helped fuel a surge in enrollment.
“Across the past 25 years, in reviving and building the Athletic Department, Bob Bonn has contributed fundamentally to reviving and building Carthage itself,” Campbell said.
In 2016-17, Red Men and Lady Reds rosters totaled 779 athletes — about 28 percent of the student body. They earned a 3.09 average GPA and devoted 3,000 combined hours to community service.
Since Bonn arrived, the College has built the Tarble Arena, N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center, Smeds Tennis Center, and Carthage Softball Field, while completing major renovations to Augie Schmidt and Art Keller fields.
Fundraising by Bonn and his staff allowed the College to endow a fund for each sport, with a total athletic endowment now approaching $3 million. A past president of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors, he remains the only official from a Division III program to hold that office.
A college letterwinner in baseball and lacrosse, Bonn went on to earn a doctorate in sport psychology and sociology from Boston University in 1983. After early career stops in Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Oregon, he found a long-term fit in Kenosha.
Carthage red permeates the family. Bonn’s wife, Michele, has a head start in retirement; besides teaching exercise and sport science (EXSS), she had stints as registrar and director of advising. One of their two sons, Steven, graduated from Carthage in 2010, and the other, Ryan, is an adjunct faculty member in the Chemistry Department.
For his first 24 years on campus, Bonn also chaired the EXSS department. Programs in athletic training and physical education, sport and fitness instruction both blossomed.
With difficult decisions around every corner, Bonn acknowledges the director's job can be demanding.
“As long as the decision was made for the welfare of the students, I always thought, ‘I did a good job today,’” he said.
Bonn plans to step away from the role after the Red Men/Lady Reds Open golf outing in June. To assist in the leadership transition, he will remain on staff in an advisory capacity through Dec. 31, 2018.
“I am deeply appreciative of Bob’s willingness to stay on as my special assistant," said President Swallow, "and I will welcome his wise counsel even further into the future.”

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