Jonathan Bonafede joined Caltech on July 31, 2015 as Head Coach for men's and women's water polo. Three years into his tenure, now entering his fourth year both programs have seen tremendous growth, with the men's team winning its first SCIAC game under Bonafede's direction on Sept 27. 2017 against Occidental College, the head coach's previous employer.
Bonafede spent the previous six years as an assistant coach at nearby Occidental College, where he was responsible for goalkeeper training, video analysis, recruiting duties and running team practices. Under his instruction, three earned All-SCIAC and All-American honors. He served a stint as interim head coach for the 2014 SCIAC Men’s Championships, leading the team to its first win over Pomona-Pitzer Colleges since the early 1990s, and the 2015 women’s season, in which the Tigers recorded an overtime victory over the University of Redlands to finish in sixth place.
While at Oxy, Bonafede also played a primary role in developing high school athletes for the collegiate level. In 2011, he started coaching the 18-and-under and the 16-and-under boys water polo programs at CHAWP, and in 2012 he took the position of head coach at St Lucy's Priory High School.
Bonafede has compiled a prolific collegiate and professional water polo career, which has included international playing and coaching experience. He began his collegiate career in water polo playing two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College, earning All-State and All-American honors in both water polo and swimming. Bonafede continued his career and passion for the sport at the University of Santa Barbara as a Division I scholarship student-athlete and MPSF player, where he earned Team MVP honors as goalkeeper in 2004. In addition to playing water polo at UCSB, he participated in the Gauchos’ swimming & diving program.
Bonafede spent three seasons playing professional water polo and coaching internationally in Australia's National Water Polo League. He won a Bronze Medal as a starter in the league finals with the Victoria Tigers in 2006, spent 2009 with the Sydney Uni Lions and capped his career playing goalkeeper for the Cronulla Sharks, earning the Southern Cross Trophy. He also coached the Cronulla women’s team to a silver medal in the league finals.
Bonafede graduated from UCSB with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.