Mr. Kenneth Bonte graduated from Garretson High School in 1968. He then attended Worthington State Junior College in Minnesota for two years. At Worthington, he played safety in football and there, he was introduced to the sport of wrestling. In his second year at Worthington, he qualified for the National Junior College Wrestling Tourney. Mr. Bonte then attended Southern State Teachers College in Springfield, South Dakota where he played safety on the football team and wrestled for two years. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in education from Southern State in 1972.
Mr. Bonte spent his entire 34-year teaching and coaching career in the Beresford School District, 1972-2006. During his time at Beresford High School, Mr. Bonte taught the following courses: Biology, Anatomy, Sociology, American Government, Health, and Physical Education. He was an Assistant Wrestling Coach for one year prior to becoming the Watchdogs Head Wrestling Coach for the next 33 years. Coach Bonte was an Assistant Varsity Football Coach for 25 years, Head Cross Country coach for one year, and an Assistant Track and Field Coach for a few years. Since his retirement from teaching, Coach Bonte has served as a volunteer and assistant wrestling coach at BHS for three head wrestling coaches. He is currently an Assistant Wrestling Coach for the Beresford/Alcester-Hudson Wrestling team.
Serving as an Assistant Varsity Football Coach, the Watchdog Football Team won Big 8 Conference titles in 1980 and 1981 and Big Sioux Conference titles in 1988, 1989, 1991, 1998, and 2000. The Watchdog Football Team won mythical state championships in 1979 and 1980, rated number one at the end of the season in 11B football in both the sportswriter and coaches’ polls. The Watchdog Football Team won its first State 11B Championship in the playoff system in 1987.
Under his guidance as the Head Wrestling Coach, the Watchdogs won five “Big 8” Conference titles in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981 and a Big Sioux Conference title in 1991. The Watchdogs also won the “Big 8” Conference Tournament in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1981. As an Assistant Wrestling Coach, the Watchdogs won a Dak XII Conference title in 2014 and Beresford/Alcester-Hudson won a Dak XII Conference Tourney title in 2017.
As the Head Wrestling Coach, Coach Bonte led the Watchdogs to ten District titles in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, and 1985 and three Region titles in 1978, 1981, and 1984. He also led the Watchdogs to three District runner-up finishes in 1982, 1983, and 1987 and five Region runner-up finishes in 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, and 1985. As an Assistant Wrestling Coach, the Watchdogs were District runner-up in 2012 and Region runner-up in 2017.
As the Head Wrestling Coach, Coach Bonte led the Watchdogs to eight “Top 10” finishes at the State “B” Wrestling Tourney. In 1981, he helped lead the Watchdog Wrestling Team to a 3rd place finish at the State “B” Wrestling Tourney. He coached Beresford High School’s first two individual state champions in wrestling that season, Ted Lyle at 155 and Koln Knight at 167. At the State “B” Tourneys, his wrestling teams also received 5th place in 1976, 8th place in 1977, and 8th place in 1984.
Recently, during his time as an Assistant Wrestling Coach, the Watchdog Wrestling Team placed four times in the top 8 at the State “B” Wrestling Tourney: 7th place in 2013, 3rd place in 2014, 7th place in 2015, and 4th place in 2016. Then in 2017, the first year of our wrestling cooperative with Alcester-Hudson, the Beresford/Alcester-Hudson (BAH) Wrestling Team won the State “B” Championship for the first time in school history. BAH had a record four individual state champions—Kellyn March (106), Dakota Galt (145), Ty Haneke (170), and Nick Casperson (182).
During the course of Coach Bonte’s career as a head and assistant wrestling coach, Beresford had 11 state champions, 10 state runner-ups, and 80 state medalists.
During the course of his life, Mr. Bonte has been committed to physical fitness and has been an avid runner. He has participated in numerous road races, half marathons, and nine full marathons. His best marathon time was 2 hours, 49 minutes, and 47 seconds at the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. Recently in 2017, Coach Bonte participated in the USA Masters Wrestling in Las Vegas, Nevada and won the gold medal in Greco-Roman and silver medal in Freestyle.
During his coaching career, Coach Bonte was nominated four times for the South Dakota Wrestling Coach of the Year. In February, 2009 Coach Bonte was inducted into the South Dakota High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Mr. Bonte and his late wife Deb have three daughters—Alexia, Brooke, and Corrisa—all graduates of Beresford High School. Mr. Bonte has three grandchildren—granddaughter Stella and twin grandsons Cael and Cain.
Congratulations to our Watchdog Hall of Fame Athletics inductee, Mr. Kenneth Bonte!