St. Francis football coach and former UCLA quarterback Jim Bonds has died at 51

St. Francis football coach Jim Bonds died Wednesday morning after battling cancer. He was 51.
(Tim Berger / Times Community News)

Jim Bonds, who was a star quarterback at Newhall Hart, played quarterback at UCLA and served 20 years as football coach at La Canada St. Francis High, died Wednesday morning at UCLA Medical Center, his brother, Tom, said. He was 51.

Bonds was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the spring of 2018 and went into remission after treatment. But he suffered a setback earlier this year and spent months trying various treatments with no success. He was transitioned to hospice care last week, then tried one last round of treatments at UCLA. Tom Bonds said he died peacefully with family at his side.

As Bonds’ condition worsened in the past week, his family decided to seek out stories and memories of his past, and Bonds received an outpouring of support and prayers. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, a fellow Bruin, spoke to him in a FaceTime call and also held up his name during a Stand Up for Cancer moment during Game 3 of the World Series.

In 1986, Bonds was the quarterback when Hart won a Southern Section championship. He went on to UCLA, learning under coach Terry Donahue and assistants Homer Smith and Rick Neuheisel and competing with Troy Aikman and Tommy Maddox. He was a backup quarterback most of his time at UCLA, then went into teaching and coaching.

He was an assistant coach at St. Francis under Bill Redell starting in 1992, became head coach at Mission Hills Alemany in 1997, then returned to St. Francis in 2000. His St. Francis teams made the playoffs 19 out of 20 years. In 2017, St. Francis made its first CIF championship game since 1964.


His reputation for integrity and teaching the passing game was well known. He put together a coaching staff that was loyal and stayed together for years. Bonds’ humor would come up publicly when he would give weekly talks during the season at the Glendale Quarterback Club, displaying wit and humility and always giving credit to his players.

Redell offered this insight into the impact of Bonds on his players: “They picked up leadership skills, how to make right decisions, how to be accountable, how to set an example for other students, how to keep cool under pressure. I never saw him lose his composure.”

Bonds is survived by his wife Tricia, son James, daughter Katie and brother Tom.