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    Coaching in China

    U.S. Armed Forces Men's Basketball team Coach Bonner

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Hudson | Lt. Cmdr. Micah Bonner, the chief of waterways management at Coast Guard Sector St....... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Hudson 

    U.S. Coast Guard District 7 PADET Tampa Bay

    While the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan are eight months away, the 7th annual CISM Military World Games held in Wuhan, China recently concluded. Some 7,991 athletes representing armed services from 109 countries competed in 32 sports over 10 days. From almost 8,000 participants, only four were from the U.S. Coast Guard and only one Coast Guardsman was a coach.
    Lt. Cmdr. Micah Bonner, the chief of waterways management at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Florida, has been playing basketball for a long time. He played all four years at Stillman College in Alabama. After graduation, he went to Coast Guard Officer Candidate School where he made a friend who told him about the All-Navy Basketball team. In 2005, he was the first Coast Guardsmen to make the roster. He played 2005, 2006, and 2008 and won gold for the national games in 2008. This helped with his selection to the U.S. Armed Forces team. This team won the CISM Military World Games gold in Germany in 2008.
    In 2012, while working as the detachment supervisor of the Marine Support Unit in Peoria, Illinois, Bonner was asked to be the coach of the Navy’s men’s basketball team. He coached five years with them, and in 2019, the navy won gold for the U.S. services, which added to his creditability for him to become the head coach of the U.S. team to play in China.
    Coaching seems to come naturally to Bonner. His degree from Stillman was in Health and Physical Education and he holds a Master’s degree in Performance Improvement. While Bonner was the team captain for the 2008 Navy team, the Navy fitness sports director, who went on to be the national sports director, recalled his natural abilities in leadership.
    “To be honest, basketball and coaching are the biggest influences on my Coast Guard career,” said Bonner. “Coaching comes natural. My philosophy on coaching is more so from people and management skills than the technical knowledge of the game.”
    After two weeks of training at Travis Air Force Base in California, the team arrived in Wuhan, China, the 7th largest city with 10 million people. Bonner said there were some rules and curfews set for all participants, but the area was remarkably beautiful and all the host escorts and interpreters were professional and gracious. Some players were able to go out and explore, while others including Bonner went and cheered on the other U.S. teams.
    The basketball tournament was a total of six games, four in the bracket and two to place for a medal. The U.S. lost the first game by 19 points to host China.
    “It was a good wakeup call for the guys,” said Bonner. “[China] had seven players who play for the national team at the Olympic level, so the physicality was a lot different and it was a good test. Playing them first allowed us to get some good experience and set us up for the next five games.”
    The U.S. team would take down the Republic of Congo, Mongolia, Qatar, and beat Brazil to qualify for the gold medal game. However, Lithuania would come out with gold with a final score of 91-83 over the U.S.
    “We wanted to win gold, but to compete so well against the Lithuanian team after a hard game against Brazil, I was very proud to come out of that game will only an eight point loss,” said Bonner.
    After years as a player and a coach, Bonner said the fact that he was Coast Guard, and the only one, rarely came up unless someone had a specific question. It comes natural for him to interact with others, whether it is with other international players, senior officials, or just members of the crowd. It’s not about service branches but service to the nation, international relationships, and a love of the game.
    “I only planned on doing the first five-year obligation, and was going to go play ball elsewhere,” said Bonner. “The program has done so much for me, that I feel like that I’m just giving back to everyone who comes through. I want others to get as much as I did as a leader. When I coach, its almost 50 percent basketball, 50 percent life and professional development. I want them to have a relationship that allows them to benefit from each other’s knowledge.”



    Date Taken: 11.15.2019
    Date Posted: 11.15.2019 11:59
    Story ID: 351921
    Location: ST. PETERSBURG, FL, US 

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