Former Hart High of Newhall all-state football player & current St. Francis of La Canada head coach Jim Bonds lost his battle to cancer on Wednesday morning (Oct. 28). He was only 51 years old.
According to media reports and Twitter, Bonds died in the early morning at UCLA Medical Center only hours after the Los Angeles Dodgers had won the World Series. When MLB and the World Series did its “Stand Up To Cancer” salutes during Game 3, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts held up his card with Bonds’ name on it. The two were teammates at UCLA (where Bonds played both football and baseball).
Bonds has been the head football coach at St. Francis for 20 years and previously was a head coach for three years at Alemany of Mission Hills. His win-loss record at St. Francis will go into the books at 133-67. His teams were in the CIF Southern Section playoffs for 16 of those years at St. Francis, including a run in 2017 when the Golden Knights made it to the CIFSS D3 championship game where they fell 44-42 to Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley on a last second field goal.
Both of Bonds’ children — one in college and the other a recent college grad — along with his wife, Tricia, were by his side when he passed.
Not long after that 2017 team had ended its season, in early 2018, Bonds was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in white blood cells.
With treatment and a more promising prognosis, Bonds coached the Golden Knights for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The cancer returned more aggressively several months ago.
“It is a devastating loss for the St. Francis community,” St. Francis athletic director Matt Luderer told the Los Angeles Daily News. “He meant so much to so many people and is ingrained in the culture and fabric of St. Francis. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tricia, Katie, James and the entire Bonds family.”
There were other top quarterbacks at Hart before Bonds led the Indians in 1986, including his older brother, Tom, but he was the first of a long line of quarterbacks from the school who gained first-team all-state honors (those postseason teams from Cal-Hi Sports began in 1980).
Bonds gained that first team all-state nod as one of those in the multi-purpose category. Others on that same 1986 all-state first team included the late Junior Seau (Oceanside), the late Scott Ross (El Toro), sophomore RB Russell White (Encino Crespi), RB Eric Bieniemy (Bishop Amat), QB Scott Barrick (Fallbrook) and the Long Beach Poly duo of Leonard Russell and Eugene Burkhalter.
Others from Hart that followed as first team all-state selections at quarterback or multi-purpose included Mr. Football State Players of the Year Kyle Boller (1998) and Sean Norton (2003).
In the 1986 CIFSS Northwestern Conference championship (Hart had not yet bumped up to the higher division with Canyon of Canyon Country & Antelope Valley), Bonds completed 17 of 27 passes for 270 yards and two TDs in a 40-27 victory over Temple City. The Indians finished 13-1 and were No. 2 in the final Class 3A state rankings behind 14-0 El Toro (which also was State Team of the Year).
Bonds’ season totals of 3,195 yards passing and 39 TD passes would barely scratch the surface compared to the astronomical totals put up by leading QBs of today, but at the time he was seventh in state history for season yards and fifth in state history for season TD passes.
All of us involved with the Cal-Hi Sports website would like to pass along our deepest condolences to Coach Bonds’ family and friends.
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports