Gary Bernardi has been recruiting high school football players in Southern California for 36 years while serving as an assistant coach at USC, UCLA, Arizona, Northern Arizona, UNLV, San Jose State and now Colorado.
He's about to get some competition from his son, Joe, a former Hart High lineman who was hired at Fresno State to coach tight ends. Gary welcomes Joe's arrival on the SoCal recruiting circuit.
"I'm ecstatic for him," Gary said. "He's paid his dues, and that's important in this profession."
Joe was a graduate assistant at Oregon and also helped at Tennessee. He played at Fresno State.
Hart Coach Mike Herrington has known both recruiters for years.
"It's going to be interesting _ who do you show allegiance to?" Herrington said.
Joe, 29, has run into his father before while helping out at Oregon.
"Well, hopefully it will be a changing of the guard and he will pass the torch and we can go about 60 years of having a Bernardi recruit the area," Joe said in a text message.
Coaching runs in the family. Joe's twin sister, Briana, is married to Andy Larussa, a St. Francis grad who coaches defensive backs at UNLV. Briana made Gary a grandfather for the first time with the birth of a daughter.
The Bernardis are recruiting the same area _ the San Fernando Valley, Ventura County and Santa Clarita.