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Central Michigan fires head coach John Bonamego

Central Michigan fires head coach John Bonamego
Posted at 9:23 PM, Nov 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-24 12:59:18-05

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WXYZ) -- Central Michigan has fired head football coach John Bonamego following a 1-11 season.

The university announced the move Friday night.

"Making a leadership change is a difficult decision, especially when you know that coach has given his all to CMU," athletic director Michael Alford said in a release. "After conducting a 360-degree evaluation of the program, it was clear that a change is needed if we are going to compete for and win championships. We greatly appreciate all that John has done for his alma mater and wish him the best moving forward."

Alford signed Bonamego to a new five-year contract following the 2017 season.

The Chippewas' 1-11 record (0-8 in Mid-American Conference play) was the worst in program history, with their lone win coming against FCS opponent Maine in September.

During his four seasons at CMU, Bonamego compiled a 22-29 overall record, 15-17 in MAC play. The Chippewas reached bowl games in each of Bonamego's first three seasons, but lost each time (2015 vs. Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl, 2016 vs. Tulsa in the Miami Beach Bowl, and 2017 vs. Wyoming in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.)

CMU was the first head coaching job for Bonamego, an alumnus. He spent the majority of his career as an assistant coach in the NFL, including special teams coordinator for the Detroit Lions before coming to Mount Pleasant.

Following his hiring in 2015, Bonamego battled and ultimately beat tonsil cancer, with his final treatment taking place mere weeks before his first game as head coach. Bonamego announced on November 21, 2018 that he had been cancer-free for three years.

Bonamego's signature win as CMU head coach came in 2016, when the Chippewas upset No. 22 Oklahoma State 30-27, a game in which the winning touchdown was scored on a controversial untimed final play.

CMU announced defensive backs coach Cory Hall will lead the program in the interim, and that a national search will begin immediately for Bonamego's replacement.