Adam Berg is quite familiar with the Mid-Columbia Conference boys basketball scene.
A Tri-City native, he played at Kennewick High School, graduating in 2002. This winter, he hopes his skills translate to the sidelines when he hits the court with the Pasco Bulldogs.
Berg, 33, takes over for Mike Guajardo, who spent the past 3 1/2 years on the bench with the Bulldogs, plus 19 years before that.
“As soon as I found out it was open, I knew I had to put my name in,” said Berg, who coached at Kiona-Benton High School last season. “Playing in the league, it’s so much fun to come back and coach in the league. It’s a unique opportunity and one I felt I had to go for. It’s amazing how much everything has developed. It’s fun for me to think about coaching against those teams. It will be pretty special.”
Pasco athletic director Jake Davis is excited to bring Berg on board.
“Mike did a great job,” Davis said. “The wins didn’t come like we wanted, but he did a good job stabilizing the team for Adam. I met with Adam last week. Talked basketball and some personnel. I feel pretty good. There are a lot of young kids. He is young and has the energy. You have to have the desire to do that and he has that.”
Berg met his new players Friday, and also had a sit-down with his Ki-Be team.
“It was kind of crazy how it all happened. It happened rather quickly,” Berg said. “I was doing things getting Ki-Be ready for the summer; now it’s Pasco, seeing what we have. Talking to the (Ki-Be) boys was tough. We had a good group and a good season (10-10). A lot of fresh faces along with me. We worked hard to build a foundation. When I talked to the kids, I told them it was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. They still have a lot to look forward to. I let them know I’m still here for them. Once you are a player of mine you are forever. It was tough, but a decision I had to make.”
Berg’s coaching pedigree goes beyond his one year at Ki-Be. He spent five years as an assistant coach under Jeff Reinland with the Walla Walla Community College men’s program.
“I’m gone one year and they win the title,” Berg said of WWCC winning the NWAC title in March. “It was a great experience for me and I learned a lot.”
That experience will come in handy as Berg takes over a team that won just three games last season. The cupboard isn’t exactly bare, but there is work to be done.
“The sophomores have good experience, and that is something they will carry forward,” Guajardo said. “Hopefully Kashon Tate, who broke his ankle before our first game and missed the season, will be hungry. He is healed, he just needs to get back into condition. Diego (Gutierrez) is a steady player. The younger kids have some size.”
Gutierrez, Tate, Emilio Davila and Matt Millet have varsity experience, with a little height, which is encouraging.
“I’m ready,” Berg said.