BONCI, Christine M.|
Christine M. "Tina" Bonci passed away Friday, March 7, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pa., after a long, heroic battle with a rare form of cancer. Tina was born June 4, 1954, in Greenville, Pa. Being sports minded and having a desire to help those in need, she followed her passion and became an athletic trainer, graduating in 1977 from Lock Haven University with a B.S. in health and physical education and a M.S. degree in physical education at The University of Rhode Island in 1979. In the course of her work at The University of Pennsylvania Sports Medicine Center (1979-85), she was named U.S. women's basketball athletic trainer for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, a career hallmark never fulfilled due to a U.S. boycott. A second opportunity came in the 1984 Los Angeles games when Tina served as athletic trainer for coach Pat Summitt and the gold medalist U.S. Olympic women's basketball team.
In 1985, Tina was named head women's athletic trainer at The University of Texas, serving under visionary women's AD Donna Lopiano and legendary basketball coach Jody Conradt. She was a great athletic trainer, whose expertise helped coaches and teams win championships. Tina's forte was developing holistic procedures and protocols for treatment of student-athletes. She had a deep understanding of the human body. As a serious athlete herself, she knew how student-athletes needed to train and prepare for competition, and she created innovative strategies to bring them back from injury. She also understood and appreciated coaches, a highly valued quality. Gracious, brilliant and collaborative, Tina galvanized UTs athletics leaders and coaches, who provided her unconditional support to develop an unparalleled athletic training program. Her dedication was absolute. Everyone Tina treated became the most important person in her life. She was a gifted lecturer, writer and publisher and an admired leader and mentor in her profession. Among many honors, Tina was selected in 2010 to the UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor and received the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award from NATA in 2006.
At the time of her passing, she was co-director of athletic training and sports medicine for nearly 500 UT men and women student-athletes and had just finished a proposal for her cutting-edge dream project: the establishment of a state of the art Center for Wellness and High Performance to serve UT student-athletes.
Tina was preceded in death by parents George and Elvera (Rinella) Bonci. She is survived by a loving family: sisters and spouses Deborah Miller (Jeff) of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Mary Jo Bonci (Richard See) of Greenville, Pa., brother Frederick R. Bonci of Pittsburgh (Leslie), niece Ashley Miller, nephews Cary Bonci, Gregory Bonci (Jacqueline Haker), Tommy Miller, Frederick Turpack, and Patrick Turpack (Candace) and their children Rhyloh, Evie and Zadie,. She also is survived by her aunt Argena Rinella Mossman of Greenville, Pa., her aunt and uncle, Melva and Leo Minotti of Henrietta, N.Y., and many cousins and friends.
The family will advise regarding a future memorial service in Greenville, Pa. A recognition event also will be scheduled in Austin later this spring. Memorial gifts may be sent to:
Longhorn Foundation The University of Texas/Athletics PO Box 7399 Austin, TX 78713-7399 Attention: Rob Heil (note Bonci Sports Medicine Endowment on checks)
Personal notes of condolences may be sent to: Frederick Bonci 462 S. Dallas Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15208
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Mar. 13 to Mar. 14, 2014