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HS Football Coach Resigns Amid Credentials Controversy

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Madison West Small

Facing threats from coaches and players not to return this fall, Madison (Wis.) West High School head football coach Art Bonomie is stepping down from his position.

As reported by local NBC affiliate WMTV, West athletic director Alicia Pelton made the announcement in an email sent to families Monday, less than a week after the district renewed Bonomie’s contract to coach for the 2022-23 school year.

In the email, Pelton says the Madison Metropolitan School District will be posting the position for head coach at the end of the week. She shared a message she says Bonomie wanted parents to hear:

I want to start by saying thank you for all the love and support I have received. I’m also thankful for all the support that our Athletic Department, West High and MMSD gave me. At this point I think it is best for me to step aside from my position as the head coach. I’m looking forward to contributing to the community in other ways. I know the future is bright for the program. Thank you and much love for your dedication and love for the program.

Go Regents!

A football parent told WMTV they feel relieved after hearing Bonomie is stepping down. “The kids and everyone are feeling like things can get back to normal now,” the parent said.

In April, Madison West football coaches said they would not return as coaches this season if Bonomie was head of the team based on their belief Bonomie had lied on his resume. One player also told WMTV he would not play for Bonomie either.

Arturo, or Art, Bonomie was hired in May 2021. His hire came with glowing reviews from the district. In a May 24 email sent to football families, Pelton touts Bonomie’s five years of prior experience coaching at West and his University of Michigan engineering degree.

However, when WMTV reached out to the University of Michigan’s Office of the Registrar to verify Bonomie’s credentials, registrar staff were “unable to find an Art Bonomie in our records” at any U of M campus. There’s no record he graduated or even took classes. Pelton touted the claim, and so does Bonomie on his LinkedIn profile.

WMTV also found court records in which Bonomie pleaded guilty to battery back in 2007, and the charges were dismissed after he completed a first-time offender’s program. He has not had anything criminal on his record since. No allegations of abuse from current players and coaches are known.

In an email to WMTV, MMSD’s communications director, Tim LeMonds, stood behind the hiring process the school used to name Bonomie as head coach, responding:

District leadership is very aware of concerns raised by some in our school community who are associated with the West High School football team. We have been looking into the matter very closely, and have either met with or responded directly to those individuals who have expressed concern.

MMSD requires each new hire to pass a very thorough and comprehensive background check. We can confirm all protocols, including performing required background checks, were appropriately followed during the hiring process for West High School’s head football coach.

That said, due to privacy laws and district policy, the district cannot comment on personnel issues. Therefore, we respectfully decline your request. However, I can share the fact that each new hire agrees to follow all work rules included in the district’s employee handbook. When our district is made aware of a potential work rule violation involving an MMSD employee, it is followed up with an internal review and responded to accordingly based on the findings of the review.

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