Madison West HS football coaches quit as questions swirl over head coach’s contract renewal


MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Madison West High School football coaches are quitting the team, and a player says he won’t play next season because of the head coach. Coaches and players are also unhappy with how district leaders are handling the situation.

As the seasons pass, the football fields will soon be filled with coaches and players, players like West High School junior Richard Song.

“I wake up every day and all I can think about is football,” Song said.

Song plays guard and defensive end for the Regents football team.

“So the idea of ​​this being ripped from me again after Covid is just something I don’t want at all,” Song said.

He doesn’t know if he will play at all this fall, his senior year.

“I’m definitely thinking about considering a transfer, but I don’t think I can play if I do it under WIAA rules,” Song said. “I have a lot of friends here. I don’t want to leave them and go to another school in my senior year, so honestly I might not play.”

Song says he doesn’t want to play for West’s head football coach because he doesn’t think he’s setting a good example for the players.

Arturo, or Art, Bonomie was hired in May 2021. His hiring was met with rave reviews from the district.

In this email sent to football families on May 24, 2021, West’s athletic director touts Bonomie’s five years of coaching experience at West and his engineering degree from the University of Michigan.

Football Families-

We have officially chosen Art Bonomie as the permanent head coach of the Western football program. Bonomie graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and went on to study with an Advanced Certificate in Management and Leadership from UW-Madison. Bonomie brought his leadership skills to the field, including six years of coaching in high school, five years with Madison West and one year with Madison Edgewood, as well as ten years of experience as a junior football coach. His strong commitment to educational athletics which includes academics, positive communication, community service, leadership and program development will allow us to continue to build success on and off the field. As West’s former interim head coach this year and an active leader of the Southside Raiders, we are confident the transition will go very well and look forward to continuing to develop the program. Thanks to Brad Murphy for his leadership of this program over the past few years. I included Art in the email, so you also have his contact.

Come on Regents-

Alicia Pelton, MSLD

Sports director

Madison West HS

Go Regents!

Twitter: @WestRegents

Such. : 608-204-3060

C: 608-347-7233

“Whether or not they’ve done a background check, she’s selling these credentials that he repeats to our parents and our players as the reasons he was hired, and those are fake,” the statement said. former assistant coach Jim Sweet.

NBC15 Investigates contacted the Office of the Registrar at the University of Michigan to verify Bonomie’s credentials. Registrar staff were “unable to find an Art Bonomie in our records” on any U of M campus. There is no record that he graduated or even took any classes. Pelton touted the claim, as did Bonomie on his LinkedIn profile.

Through a number of open case requests, NBC15 Investigates battled the district, even bringing in an attorney, for answers. We wanted to know Bonomie’s salary and also asked for his CV to check his references. It took six and a half weeks for the district to obtain these records. Neither her job application nor Bonomie’s resume mentioned her education. But it included a copy of a CPR training certificate.

Bonomie says he was an “offensive assistant” at Madison West High School from 2016-2020.

At least one former assistant coach, Jim Sweet, disputes that.

“He was never a paid coach or a volunteer at Madison West High School,” Sweet explains.

We’ve asked the district and haven’t yet been able to confirm Bonomie’s training history.

In our review, NBC15 Investigates also found court filings in which Bonomie pleaded guilty to battery in 2007, and the charges were dismissed after completing a first-time offender program. He hasn’t had anything criminal on his record since. It is important to note that there are no allegations of abuse by current players and coaches that NBC15 Investigates is currently aware of.

“It’s not even so much about allegations as credibility with anyone in the community, including his own players. Logic says he should quit, but he won’t,” Sweet says.

Jim Sweet has been an assistant football coach at West for five years, involved with the program for ten years, that is until last week when he announced to the district that he would not be returning if Bonomie remained as head coach. Sweet is not alone. NBC15 spoke with three other coaches who say they are also missing.

In an email to NBC15, MMSD communications director Tim LeMonds supports the hiring process the school used to appoint Bonomie as head coach.

Hello Elisabeth,

Thanks for reaching out to myself, Jermey and Alicia. The district leadership is very aware of the concerns raised by some members of our school community who are associated with the West High School football team. We have looked into the matter very closely and have met or responded directly to people who have expressed concern.

MMSD requires every new hire to pass a very thorough and comprehensive background check. We can confirm that all protocols, including the required background check, were properly followed during the West High School Head Football Coach hiring process.

That said, due to confidentiality laws and district policy, the district cannot comment on personnel issues. Therefore, we respectfully decline your request. However, I can share that each new hire agrees to follow all work rules included in the District Employee Handbook. When our District is notified of a potential work rule violation involving an MMSD employee, it is followed by an internal review and responds accordingly based on the findings of the review.

Regarding your question about resignations. Fall Sports Assistant Coach positions are annual, at-will appointments and resignations or offers of employment for these positions are generally not determined until mid-May through June. Of the 8 assistant football coaching positions at West, no formal resignations have been submitted to the sporting director or administrative staff. There was, however, an official resignation from the paid strength coach who serves all sports, not just football. Also, for any sport, it is common for there to be some turnover of assistant coaches each year.



Coaching positions at MMSD are based on one-year contracts. So if a coach were to leave while the season isn’t happening, he technically wouldn’t have to resign. But the coaches who spoke to NBC15 say they are not renewing their contracts by choice specifically because Bonomie’s contract as a coach is up for renewal. LeMonds confirmed that Bonomie’s contract will be renewed on June 30, 2022.

Sweet’s fight isn’t necessarily with the head coach but the district’s decision to put Bonomie in the position.

“The real problem here is the structural problem, the institutional problem,” Sweet said. “It’s very clear that the DA told a story to parents and players that is a lot of lies. That story was buried by the school system. If a background check had been done, then all these revelations that we’re talking about here now that turned out to be lies would come out.

Sweet says now is the time for the district to step up and be a leader for its students, especially when it comes to the hiring process.

“What I’ve seen over and over again is there are patterns of adults trying to protect their own interests before children, and that happens over and over and over again,” Sweet said. “Whether it’s the hiring of AD, whether it’s the treatment of head coaches, it’s appalling and shameful. Adults who are supposed to protect children put their interests first.

He says that even though he is no longer a coach, he will always be part of his players’ team by supporting them in any way possible, and he says that is why he is speaking out.

“I feel like I owe it to our kids in the first place. And then their parents and maybe the parents of MMSD to step in and make my voice heard because how the system works is everything. simply defective.

Sweet says that to make things right, in his eyes, Bonomie needs to quit or the district needs to fire him. He then calls for a full and open search for the next head coach.

NBC15 sent four emails to Bonomie’s two different email addresses and left two messages on his cell phone number.

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