In a press release put out on Monday, Quinnipiac University announced the passing of acrobatics and tumbling assistant coach Manny Bonilla on Feb. 5. Bonilla had been battling cancer in his jaw since 2013.
Bonilla joined the A&T coaching staff in 2012 and helped lead the team to two National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association National Championship semifinal appearances.
Last year, Bonilla participated in the Fifth Annual “Closer to Free” Bike Ride at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Conn. to benefit Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Smilow Cancer Center. Surgeons from Smilow removed bone from Bonilla’s fibula to replace bone in his face and skull that was affected by the cancer. Following the procedure, Bonilla rode 100 miles on his bike, raising over $600.
Quinnipiac Acrobatics & Tumbling Head Coach Mary Ann Powers said in a statement, “Manny was the blueprint for what all coaches should aspire to be. He coached our student-athletes beyond their athletic ability and set them forth to make a difference in all their endeavors. His positive impact was widespread in both the local and regional gymnastic and competitive cheer community. Our staff and team will greatly miss his kindness, integrity, and leadership.”
Funeral services for Bonilla will be held on Feb. 8 at Casey’s Eastside Memorial Funeral Home in Waterbury, Conn at 6 p.m. Family and friends will be able to visit with his family from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.