Illustration by Leo Gordon
Berkeley High School (BHS) has nearly 30 boys and girls sports teams, and almost every team has a coach. BHS mandates that their coaches follow the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) coaches code of conduct. The code of conduct states that coaches must “strive to provide challenging, safe, enjoyable, and successful experiences for the athletes.” The code also touches on coaches having self-control and not displaying anger or frustration, and being fair and willing to listen.
Despite the fact that all BHS coaches are supposed to follow this conduct, not all stay true to every part. Case in point: controlling one’s anger. Coaches, as hard as they try, sometimes display anger during and after sporting events. When this behavior becomes consistent, it can create an unhealthy environment. The question is: where does BHS draw the line?
Although BHS is not permitted to share information about their firing procedures, some context about coaches leaving is publically available. In 2016, the BHS boys basketball coach, Mark DeLuca, resigned after leading the team to their first state championship game since 1924. According to an email he wrote to The Mercury News, DeLuca said, “The vast majority of parents and the vast majority of players I worked with in Berkeley were fabulous.” However, DeLuca added that while the school was good on the court, off the court was a different story. DeLuca said that BHS tried to be fair to everyone, but they ended up being fair to no one. “I’ve had my fill of the Berkeley thing,” he said.
From DeLuca’s quotes, it seems he was driven away from BHS due to the school’s efforts to equalize everything. Admittedly, the school does have a tough job; they need to manage 30 or so coaches. Coaches don’t have the easiest job either, as they’re required to give up their free time in order to be fully committed to their team. Either way, high school sports are an important part of BHS, and so the coaches and school are required to work together.