After spending the past seven years as an assistant, Aaron Berk will be the head coach of the Central High School softball program moving forward.
Central announced the hire Wednesday, filling the vacancy left by Scott Else, who resigned after 12 years to spend more time on his family and business. Under Else, Central won seven Southwestern League titles — all in the past seven years with Berk on staff — and made the Class 4A state semifinals twice, including this season.
“I’ve been around this game for a long time. I’ve been involved in a lot of stuff,” Berk said. “It was the right mix of things that allowed us to do what we needed to do to be successful for seven years. Carrying on that tradition, carrying on that success goes a long ways.”
In addition to serving as Else’s assistant, Berk was an assistant to Chuck Yost on the Warriors’ baseball team. Berk has also coached Little League and summer ball teams, offered private lessons and once worked under University of Evansville baseball coach Marc Wagner, who recruited future Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland.
Berk believes his combination of experience at Central and his background on the diamond in general were what secured him the job.
“I saw what (Scott) did, I learned from him,” Berk Said. “My understanding of what he did, what the girls are used to, what they expect, what I expect, that’s a huge thing. ”
If one had told Berk in high school that he would one day lead Central’s softball program, he would have been stunned, considering he was a strong prep player for Grand Junction.
Although he’ll always cherish his days as a Tiger, he’s firmly entrenched himself as a reliable figure in the Warriors’ athletic department.
“Being a Tiger in high school and then putting on the Central C and wearing red is a little bit of a change for me,” Berk said. “I’ve bounced around a little bit, but my loyalty and my pride are definitely with Central High School. That’s why I wanted the job to begin with. I feel like I’m a part of the community.
“I want the community to grow and be stronger, not necessarily for softball, but for all of the sports. I want Central to continue to have the success it’s already started to build.”