Gary Bernardi, who first became a Pac-10 assistant in 1980 and has worked previously at Pac-10 rivals Arizona and USC, enters his 10th season as a member of the UCLA coaching staff. He is in charge of the Bruin tight ends and helps tutor the offensive line and punt and punt return teams in addition to his all-important duties overseeing UCLA’s nationwide recruiting efforts.
In the spring of 2002, UCLA put together another outstanding recruiting class which made many Top Five lists after ranking in the Top Five in 1999 and No. 1 in 1998. During his career, he has coached in 12 bowl games, including four Rose Bowls.
In addition, UCLA’s tight ends have once again become a key factor in the offense, making a total of 235 receptions in the last seven seasons after accounting for just eight in 1995. In 2002, Mike Seidman was selected as one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. Seidman also received first-team All-Pac-10 honors in a vote of league coaches and was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2003 NFL draft. His average yardage per game mark of 52.6 yards ranked second in the nation. In 2001, Bryan Fletcher was named second-team all-conference and was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 2002 NFL draft. Mike Grieb was selected first-team All-Pac-10 at the position in 1998. Grieb was an honorable mention all-conference selection in 1997, as was Jamal Clark in 1996.
Bernardi played a very important role during the three-plus weeks between the retirement announcement of Terry Donahue and the hiring of Bob Toledo. His efforts kept prep seniors interested in UCLA during the transition period, enabling the Bruins to sign a solid class a month after Toledo’s hiring. He once again this year has served as a stabilizing force during the current transition to head coach Karl Dorrell.
Bernardi began his collegiate coaching career at Arizona in 1980, under Larry Smith, as a part-time coach working with tight ends and serving as an administrative assistant. He became a full-time coach the following season and continued at the Tucson school through 1986, serving as tight ends coach and administrative assistant (1981-84), receivers coach (1985) and back to tight ends coach (1986). He also worked as Arizona’s recruiting coordinator.
In 1987, he followed coach Smith to USC where he handled the tight ends, offensive tackles and was special teams coordinator. In his final year at USC in 1992, offensive tackle Tony Boselli, a 1995 first round NFL pick, earned first-team All-America acclaim after being selected as a Freshman All-American.
Bernardi has coached seven NFL-bound tight ends — Mike Seidman, Bryan Fletcher, Mike Grieb, Ryan Neufeld, Paul Green, Scott Galbraith and Brad Banta — and also worked with future pro offensive linemen such as Jonathan Ogden, Kris Farris, Dave Cadigan and Pat Harlow.
Bernardi began his coaching career at Bell-Jeff High School in Burbank, CA (1973-74) and spent 1975 as an assistant at his prep alma mater of Monroe High in Sepulveda, CA. From 1976-79, Bernardi served as receivers and tight ends coach at Fountain Valley, CA High, working with future Stanford All-American Ken Margerum. The team went 40-7-1 during his tenure, winning a CIF championship in 1978. He came to UCLA after serving in 1993 as head coach at Burroughs (Burbank) High.
Bernardi was an All-League receiver and team captain at Monroe High, graduating in 1971. He attended College of the Canyons in Valencia, CA, for two years (1973 and 1974) and went on to CSU Northridge where he earned his degree in 1976.
For the past four years, Bernardi has been a key member of the Los Angeles chapter of the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Association and has assisted in their on-going fund-raising efforts.
RECRUITING RESPONSIBILITIES — Local / California: San Fernando and Antelope Valleys; National: Southern Nevada, Arizona and tight ends.
PERSONAL — Education: Bachelor’s in Physical Education, Cal State Northridge, 1976; Also holds a California Secondary Education Teaching credential; At UCLA: 10th year (joined staff in February, 1994); Born: September 24, 1954; Family: Gary and his wife Leigh have three children, Marina 19, and 16-year old twins Joe and Briana.