GOLF (AND LIFE)
NHSCA Boys’ Golf Coach of the Year keeping Langley High School
at the top of the leaderboard in Virginia.
By Jon Cooper
Winning is neither everything nor the only thing for Al Berg.
But for 22 years, winning has been A thing for the head coach
of the Boys’ Golf Team, at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia.
In that time Berg’s Saxons have taken home fi ve Virginia High
School League (VHSL) state championships (the school has
seven), 17 district crowns and has won 50 tournaments while
sending countless kids — boys and girls — to college to play
Division I golf. In that time he’s had one losing season.
An avid golfer since his dad taught him the game as a teenager,
Berg was content to keep his worlds as a teacher and golfer
mutually exclusive. That changed when those worlds were
brought together and he unexpectedly was offered the boys’ golf
head coaching job at Langley. Since then, he’s been an enthusiastic
teacher of the game. That enthusiasm to coach has allowed his
coaching career to outlast his teaching career (he retired from
that in 2010) and drives him to make the 100-mile trek from
Richmond to Northern Virginia every week.
In a game where “less is more” as far as strokes are concerned,
Berg has taken on a “the more the merrier” approach as far as
his roster, simply refusing to turn away a kid that wants to try out.
Championships have resulted, especially lately. The Saxons
took home their third straight VHSL state championship in
2018, winning the Class 6 title by 11 shots, shooting a 296 in an
unprecedented one-day, 18-hole championship held at Magnolia
Green Golf Club.
Berg, was recognized by the National High School Coaches
Association (NHSCA) as the National High School Boys Golf
High School Coach of the Year, becoming the fi rst Virginia-based
coach to do so.
He talked with Coaches Quarterly about what started him
playing golf, what’s driven and continues to drive him to coach it
and what led him to his core belief of never giving up on a kid.
NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL COACHES ASSOCIATION 34 COACHES QUARTERLY SPRING 2019