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The top 100 FSU football players: No. 36— defensive back Monk Bonasorte

“The greatest ambassador Florida State has ever had.”

Monk Bonasorte with Rick Stockstill
FSU Athletics

Where to even begin?

Francis Joseph Bonasorte was born in Pittsburgh in 1957. He walked on to FSU as a tight end in 1977 in head coach Bobby Bowden’s second year on the job. He was 6’1 and just 177 pounds. Bowden moved Bonasorte to defensive back.

He wasn’t the biggest, or the strongest, or the fastest. But he was smart.

He was Monk.

Slowly but surely Monk worked his way up the depth chart. He was awarded a scholarship, and a starting spot as a safety in 1978. He didn’t disappoint, recording 72 tackles, three forced fumbles, and three interceptions.

Then, as a junior in 1979, Monk racked up an incredible eight interceptions, to go with another 64 tackles. He set a new single-season school record for interceptions, and led the country in picks for most of the season, finishing fourth. His efforts helped create one of the best defenses ever at FSU and the Seminoles went undefeated in the regular season. He was named a third team All-American by the Associated Press as FSU finished 11-1 and ranked 6th in the country.

Monk followed that up with another 55 tackles and four interceptions in his senior season in 1980 as FSU went 10-2 and ranked 5th in the country. He was named a second team All-American by Football News and an honorable mention All-American by the AP, making him a two-time All-American. His 15 career interceptions also set a new school record.

Both of those records stood until Terrell Buckley in 1991. Bonasorte is still second all-time at FSU in both categories.

“He wasn’t the fastest guy out there but he knew where that damn ball was going to be,” said Sam Childers, a Tallahassee resident and former Seminole teammate of Bonasorte’s.

Bonasorte dedicated his life to Florida State, later spending thirteen years as president and executive director of the school’s Varsity Club. He was inducted into FSU’s Hall of Fame in 1995 and also named to FSU’s All-Time football team by Athlon Sports. In 2008 Bonasorte joined FSU’s athletics department where he was senior associate athletics director for eight years, often being described as the glue that held the department together.

Monk Bonasorte embodied not just the FSU football program, but all of FSU and what it strives to stand for. In doing so he became a legend.