Dick Berg is also a household name at Dowling College as well as at other athletic institutions. He has worked in athletic administration for 33 years at the NAIA, NCAA Division I and II levels. He spent 25 years as an athletic director and 20 years as a basketball coach.
Coach Berg’s interest in athletics extends back to 1959, while as a student at Walt Whitman High School, he led his school to its first Suffolk County Class A Championship. While also playing football and baseball, he was named to the League I All-Star Team for both basketball and football. He continued playing athletics at Mansfield State Collegiate as a 3-sport athlete in basketball, football, and track. After graduating in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences, Dick was hired as a social studies teacher by the East Islip School District. He stayed at this position for 4 years, while also serving as the district’s Head Junior Varsity Basketball coach, and Assistant Varsity Football coach. While coaching, he led the basketball team to the 1967 JV League Championship and the 1966 County Championship in football. He also received his Master’s Degree in sociology from Adelphi University in 1972.
Berg was named NAIA District 31 Coach of the Year six times between 1970-71 and 1976-77, and was also NAIA Area Coach of the Year after the 1973-77 seasons. He was honored by the Long Island Press, the Metropolitan College Basketball Coaches Association, and the Long Island College Basketball Coaches Association (LICBCA) for his coaching excellence. Dick and his Golden Lions twice received the Sam Schoenfield Award for sportsmanship, a feat accomplished by only one other college in the New York Metropolitan area. He has been president of the CACC and the LICBCA. Dick Berg’s enthusiasm and dedication transformed Dowling College from an obscure institution to an NAIA powerhouse.
He has been active in international sports and the Olympic movement for over 25 years. He frequently ran schools and clinics in Europe for coaches and players during the 1970’s. In 1971, Berg was awarded the Plaque of Honor, the highest award given in athletics by the Swedish Basketball Federation. In 1973, Berg became the first American Basketball Coach to be invited to speak in Hungary. Dick has taken the Golden Lions on many international trips, touring and playing in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands. He worked the National Sports Festival in 1978 and 1979.
Dick continued coaching after Dowling, where he became coach at Hofstra. He joined the University of West Florida in July 1988 as Director of Athletics. Under Berg’s leadership at West Florida, the university has hosted six national championships. In 1998, he was inducted into the Pensacola Sports Association Hall of Fame. He was also recently voted one of the Pensacola News Journal’s Top 10 Coach/Administrators of the 90’s.
He just recently returned from the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Dick is married to his high school sweetheart Sandra, and they have 3 grown children, Bonnie, Dawn, and Brett, as well as two grandchildren.
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