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SMALL SCHOOLS : A Peek Into Their World Reveals Some Similar Experiences . . . but With Little Differences : They Love Being Their Own Staffs

February 12, 1986|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

You might say Stephen Berg has built the athletic program at California Lutheran High School from scratch.

You might say that, but you'd be wrong.

He built it out of wood and pipe.

Berg is the boys' basketball coach at Cal Lutheran. He's also the football coach and the baseball coach. And he's the boys' and the girls' athletic director for all 94 students.

It was Berg who erected the thin goal posts that stand on the C-Hawks' football field.

"Just put a few pieces of scrap pipe together, then dug a couple of holes," he said.

Berg also constructed two sets of bleachers for the field.

"I got a good deal on wood. My friend and I did it in a couple of days."

He is overworked, underpaid and wouldn't trade his job for the world.

"There comes that time once a year when you wonder why you do it all," he said. "But then you look at the kids and the good it does them and you know why."

Berg's kind is unheard of at large high schools with much larger budgets. But at schools as small as Cal Lutheran--with equally small budgets--he's just another guy doing his part.

Consider that Ray Clifton coaches boys' basketball, football, baseball and is boys' and girls' athletic director at Liberty Christian of Huntington Beach.

The king of them all may be Gary Hanggi of Voyagers Christian in Huntington Beach. He coaches boys' and girls' basketball, boys' and girls' volleyball and boys' track and field. He's also boys' and girls' athletic director, vice principal and directs the school play.

"Why do I do it? That's a very good question," Hanggi says, laughing. "But I know it's what I want to do. I get a satisfaction here I don't think I'd get anywhere else.

As he laughs his authentic German cuckoo clock begins to cluck.

"Hear the clock," Hanggi jokes. "There's the reason. I'm cuckoo."

And loving it.

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