PASADENA, Calif. (July 31, 2015) – The Caltech Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation has named Jonathan Bonafede as Head Coach for the men’s and women’s water polo programs.
“We are very pleased to welcome Jon to our team,” Betsy Mitchell, Director of APER, said. “His combination of experience both playing and coaching water polo, familiarity with the SCIAC and passion for providing a well-rounded educational experience make him an excellent addition as we continue to progress toward our goals as a department.”
Bonafede joins Caltech having spent the past 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.
"I would like to personally thank Betsy Mitchell and everyone at Caltech involved in the hiring process for granting me the opportunity to be a part of the Caltech athletics program at this prestigious institution,” Bonafede said. “I am very excited to be a part of this team, and I am very ambitious and optimistic about the future growth and success of these water polo programs."
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.