ACU baseball changed 18 years ago when Britt Bonneau stepped onto the field.
Bonneau became the head baseball coach at ACU when he was just 26 years old, which had a surprising benefit for him.
“I was 25, 26 years old so we had a couple of guys for those first few years, they really impacted me and helped me through a lot of things because we were pretty much the same age,” Bonneau said.
Bonneau was the runt of a sports-focused family with five older brothers and sisters who all attended ACU, giving him the opportunity to see the infamous “ACU difference.”
“I was in a place in my life where it was time for me to get a job,” Bonneau said. “I was newly married so I came to be with coach [Jim] Shankle at ACU. Some fortunate events for me: he resigned after one year so that put me in a position at a very young age to be a head coach, so I was kind of just at the right place at the right time.”
Since Bonneau has been here, the baseball team has gone 671-324-1, giving them a 67.4 winning percentage overall, which goes up to 75 percent at Crutcher Scott Field.
Bonneau has found success on the field, but has found his purpose even more so off the field.
“It’s easy to be a Christian behind this desk at ACU,” Bonneau said. “I need to be behind this desk at ACU. I feel like this is the place that will keep me in line, but I also know what athletes go through.”
The environment at ACU has also served him and his players throughout the years.
“You realize four, five, even 10 or 15 years later, when you have a personal relationship with them and you’re able to talk about marriage, baseball, the old days, things they’re struggling with now or just good times, all of those things,” Bonneau said. “I’ve been through a lot with some players that struggled off the field and so I can think of those instances where I was able to help them or they were able to help me.”
Bonneau believes being the youngest of the family made him want to learn every position of the game, a skill that has led him to many milestones and victories in his career.
“Throughout my career wherever I was playing, I would go and listen to these coaches. If they were coaching a position I didn’t play, I’d go listen or I’d go pick the pitching coaches brain to learn some stuff about him,” Bonneau said. “Well, that led to pro-ball with the Chicago Cubs and I learned some stuff through that. I realized pretty quick I’m pretty short so I probably wasn’t going to make it far, but because of that I really studied what the coaches were doing, you know, I got some great knowledge from them.”
Coach Bonneau’s oldest daughter will attend ACU next fall, and he has high hopes for the future of ACU, although he didn’t always think like that.
“I have four daughters and I’m thinking about the oldest being a freshman here next year. She was born on my first day on the job here, and I was so irritated we were having a baby because I just wanted to be out on the practice field,” Bonneau said.
It is that raw dedication to the game combined with a whopping 18 years of success at ACU that makes Bonneau the ideal leader of ACU baseball.
“The same foundation that those coaches started, I hope down the road, now that we’re going in to Div. I, we’re starting something that I might not get to experience… but I’m going to build it to where somebody will,” Bonneau said.
As ACU athletics goes through the transition to Div. I, Bonneau will look to do what he always has done: to lead strong men into the best team they can be, and build long lasting relationships with everyone he comes in contact with.
“We’re going to build it on Christ, and we’re going to build it on these things and we’re going to do things so we have kids with integrity and character so when the next person comes in, he wants to take what you’ve done and go. I try to do that every day,” Bonneau said.