Olympic Heights High School has a new football coach in Ray Berger. Berger was kind enough to speak with us on the phone today.
He’s been involved in football for many years, including coaching at Spanish River for a few years and several years at Santaluces in Lantana. Most recently he’s been working with disabled kids at Spanish River as their “Crisis Intervention” teacher. In the past he’s coached several successful athletes including Vince Wilfork at Santaluces, now a star defensive tackle for the New England Patriots.
The main thing we picked up from Coach Berger is fun: He used the word a lot. “Every kid would want to play for me. It’s all about fun.”
He feels high school coaches here don’t face the same pressures we see at the college level. “No one takes care of the kids like I take care of them. I don’t treat them like a piece of meat. I want them to have fun.”
His short term goals are to get ready for practice, which starts Monday, and get kids back out to football.
We asked about what kind of systems he expects to run, such as a 3-4 vs. a 4-3 on defense. His answer was simple: “Run an offense fitting the talents we have. I coach to what I have.” He said the same about defense.
He’s made some progress on assistant coaches. He wasn’t ready to release the entire staff but his offensive coordinator will be Andrew Immler, who played for Berger at Spanish River.
He’s 21 years old and is finishing up at FAU. Berger says there’s a trend in athletics of working young assistant coaches. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is probably the best example of that we can think of. Immler was also a West Boca Dragons head coach and board member.
Dick Hopkins will be defensive coordinator. He was the defensive backs coach for FAU under Howard Schnellenberger.