After 21 seasons spent building the Hermiston wrestling program into one of the best in the Northwest, Bulldogs coach Curt Berger is stepping down.
"I still have a passion for wrestling," Berger said this week, adding that he is ready to hand the "administrative stuff" to someone else.
He will leave some enormous footprints.
The Bulldogs were 294-68-2 in duals under Berger with seven district championships and six Oregon 5A state titles -- five in a row until the Bulldogs finished third this season.
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Along the way, he coached 111 state placers and 20 state champs accounting for 33 titles. A district and regional coach of the year many times over, he was the Oregon coach of the year four times, the National Wrestling Coaches Association state coach of the year in 2001 and 2007 and sectional coach of the year in 2007.
The 2001 state title was the school's first in any sport.
Joey Delgado, who capped his marvelous career this year, was a four-time state champ under Berger. Ben Jorgensen (2007-09) and Curt's son, Curtis Berger, (2009-11) were three-time state champs.
Curt Berger also led the girls tennis team to consecutive state titles from 2007-09, with the considerable help of his daughters. Rachel, Rebecca and Richole accounted for five doubles titles (2004-08), and Richole added the singles title in 2009. Rebecca Berger is the state's only four-time state doubles champion.
Though Curt Berger is stepping down from head coach, he won't be a stranger: "I'll be keeping score at state like the old guys."