By AILEEN JANEE CORPUS and MAURICIO PLIEGO
Bill Berich has been involved in education for 41 years and has been a teacher and coach at Redlands East Valley since its opening in 1997.
Berich says, “I wanted to get back into coaching high school basketball – and REV was opening up so I applied.”
In an away game against the Redlands High School boys varsity basketball team, Redlands East Valley High School boys’ varsity basketball coach Bill Berich dismisses his team from a timeout. The end of the game resulted in a win for the Wildcats. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News photo)
He taught at Yucaipa Junior High for two years, 13 years in Yucaipa High School, and 25 years at REV. Berich has taught social studies, physical education, health, English and science classes over the course of his career along with coaching basketball and several other sports.
Berich says, “I have so much fun teaching. I am not the best teacher, but I doubt anyone enjoys it as much as I do. I like helping kids [who want to be helped] and seeing them succeed.”
Head coach Bill Berich (far right) watches his team rejoicing as Redlands East Valley High School senior Piave Fitzpatrick and junior Jeremiah Bolaños jump with enthusiasm after winning their final CBL game of the 2021-22 basketball season in an overtime clinch. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News photo)
Berich has coached basketball for 43 years and that has included six years in freshman basketball, seven seasons as the head boys’ varsity coach from 1986-1993, four seasons as assistant coach at the University of Redlands from 1993-1997 and has been head coach at REV since 1997.
Along with basketball, he has coached for softball, golf, track, junior varsity softball and badminton.
During his time as a coach at REV, basketball has won four Kiwanis Tournaments, two Beaumont Tournaments, four Citrus Belt League and several other tournaments. Since REV’s opening in 1997, the team has qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs for 20 out of the 25 years.
Redlands East Valley High School boys’ varsity basketball coach Bill Berich stands on the sideline during the first and last CIF game for the Wildcats of the 2021-2022 season on Feb. 11, 2022. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News photo)
As coach, Berich can think of two memories that he can say were his favorites but he cannot choose a favorite season.
He says, “CIF Finals at the Honda Center in 2015. Winning a game in the State Tournament. Our first CBL Title. But, maybe above all of that, was the retirement send-off I was given at our last home game on February 4, 2022. That was amazing.”
Over the years, he has grown to love the students, faculty and everyone who works at REV. Berich feels it has “become infectious” and feels blessed to have taught at REV.
Coach Berich speaks to the Redlands Educational Partnership Rebounders team in hopes to lead them through the game against the comedic, traveling basketball team the Harlem Wizards. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News photo)
As the coach for the REP Rebounders, Bill Berich talks to his team of Redlands’ teachers, classified employees and administrators before they begin their fundraising basketball game against the comedic basketball team the Harlem Wizards on April 22, 2022. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News photo)
The only thing he would change is to hold the students to a higher standard regarding attendance, academics and behavior because he feels that it would be possible to do.
Berich lives by the Golden Rule, and he believes that students should know that “what is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular.”
He says, “I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. I try to do my best and take satisfaction in that regardless of the results.”
During his free time, he golfs, fishes, and takes care of his disabled son, Billy. For his retirement, he hopes to be able to teach at a junior college, or community college, and continue fishing, golfing, and boating.
Originally an assistant coach to Berich, Head Coach Mike Aranda has coached REV basketball since the 1999-2000 season.
“He has worked very hard over the years to build up the REV basketball program. We’ve won CBL titles, preseason tournaments, a state playoff game, and reached the CIF Final in 2015,” says Aranda. “He cares deeply about his players but not just in regard to their basketball abilities, he wants his players to be successful in all aspects of life. He’s taught his players about responsibility, work ethic, and accountability to prepare them for their lives after their basketball career is over.”
Aranda says, “I am very thankful to Coach Berich for his help and guidance in my coaching and teaching career.”