Black Hills State University graduate, Mike Berg, Class of ’72, was named the National Football League (NFL) High School Coach of the Year.
Berg, who is a coach and physical education and social studies teacher at Grand Forks Central High School in North Dakota, was nominated by a former Central player and current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brooks Bollinger. “It kind of puts a topper on a career,” Berg said. “Obviously it’s very gratifying, but it’s very humbling because I’m just some high school teacher and coach in North Dakota who was fortunate with good athletes and good coaches over the years.”
The award will allow Berg and his wife Lorna to be guests of the NFL at the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in Glendale Arizona. Berg will also receive $5,000 cash and a $10,000 grant from the NFL Youth Football Fund, which will be awarded to the Central football program.
The NFL created the Coach of the Year Award in 1995 to honor coaches who profoundly impacted the athletic and personal development of NFL players. In his nomination essay, Bollinger called Berg “a great man (who) taught me a lot about believing in yourself and overcoming adversity… (Coach Berg has) impacted thousands of kids’ lives.”
Berg spent 28 of his 35 years coaching as Central’s head coach. His teams went 141-132 with 16 playoff appearances, three state championship appearances and the 2005 state title.
“Much of my pride involved in this deal is my pride in being an alumnus of BHSU,” Berg said. “There are a lot of miles and many years between my time in Spearfish and this time in my life, but the highest honor I have received was my induction in the Yellow Jacket Hall of Fame at BH. To be recognized by my college in that manner far surpasses any ambition that I ever had, and I will not forget my school.”
Berg was inducted into the Yellow Jacket Hall of Fame for his outstanding coaching career during the BHSU Swarm Day celebration last year.