The journey of attending Berkeley High School as a student, diving into a lifetime of sports, and becoming an alum coach is one that is profoundly rewarding. Being able to give back to the community you spent so many pivotal years in can be a central part of how coaches shape their teams and teach their sport.
“Walking these halls felt so natural, cause I’ve been walking them since I was a little kid,” said David Perry, head coach of the BHS football team.
“To be honest, I was not the world’s best student. I did not get focused on school like I needed to,” Perry said, “Later, realizing I wanted to be eligible for football and seeing how college was for me, I wanted to try and instill that in the kids in this community.”
Perry emphasized that “football can be a vehicle and can change the whole trajectory of your life.”
After graduating, Perry went to Contra Costa College, contemplated playing, but decided he wanted to become a coach as soon as possible in order to, “try and reach those students that need guidance and direction … I spent time getting equipped and going through training as a coach. I decided I wanted to come back to my community, teach and become an educator.”
Perry, who grew up part of the community, knew it was time to come “home” after being separated for too long.
“It’s like I’ve gone full circle,” said Jeff Jue, BHS boys varsity tennis coach. “I had my first tennis lesson on those Berkeley High tennis courts.” Jue, whose passion for athletics developed in part from his father, who is in the BHS Athletic Hall of Fame, was the number one player on the tennis team and went on to play college tennis for Merritt College.
“Sports (were) very important for me. I felt connected, I really enjoyed the athletics,” he said. Jue described his motivation for returning to the school community noting, “I always had a passion for coaching and it’s a way for me to give back.”
He emphasized how deeply rewarding it has been for him to pass along what he learned, especially back to students from BHS. Speaking on the values he brings to both practice and matches, he said, “(Tennis)brings people together. It’s not about me, it’s about us.” This collective spirit and enthusiasm spurred him on.
“Share, uplift each other, we just try and get better each day,” he said. As a coach, Jue feels, “deeply honored” to be teaching at BHS and says he, “came back to (his) roots.”