Berger Quits Chapman Coaching Job

Times Staff Writer

Brian Berger, who led the Chapman College women’s basketball team to three NCAA Division II Western Regional finals in five seasons, has resigned, Chapman officials announced Monday.

Berger cited personal considerations for his resignation, but refused to outline his reasons.

Berger said he decided to leave Thursday--after thinking about it for two weeks--and informed Chapman administrators Friday.

“I was very surprised to find out he was leaving,” Walt Bowman, Chapman athletic director said. “We really had no indication he was considering this.”


Bowman said he would meet with school president G.T. Smith Monday to discuss the selection of a new coach.

“We could hire as soon as tomorrow and as late as a month,” Bowman said. “This being recruiting time, of course it’s important for us to find a qualified coach who has college experience as soon as possible.”

Berger’s top assistant, Bob Alaniz, also resigned.

The 1985-86 season had been the least successful for Berger since coming to Chapman. For the first time, his team failed to win 20 games, going 17-10. Chapman finished second in California Collegiate Athletic Assn. to Pomona, but did not qualify for postseason play.


“The team’s performance this season had nothing to do with my decision,” said Berger, who was 113-32 at Chapman.

Twice named the CCAA Coach of the Year, Berger inherited a team in 1981 that was 14-15 the previous season.

Emphasizing fundamentals and defense, Chapman was 23-5 in Berger’s first season, finishing second in the CCAA with a 8-4 record and winning the Division II South Central Regional.

“To say we didn’t expect him to be that successful in his first season would be a gross understatement,” Bowman said.


In 1984, Berger guided the Panthers to a No. 5 national ranking and a Western Regional championship. Chapman set a school record for wins with 26 and finished tied for the conference title with Cal Poly Pomona at 11-1.

Chapman won 25 games during the 1984-85 season, was ranked No. 2 nationally and again finished in a first-place tie with Pomona at 11-1. That Chapman team led the nation in defense allowing opponents 51.6 points per game.

Berger started his coaching career in 1977 as a boys’ junior-varsity coach at Bellflower High School. From 1978 to 1980 he coached at Paramount High, and in 1980-81 was an assistant coach on the Cal State Long Beach women’s team.

He said his resignation was not prompted by burnout.


“No way. I love the game, I have to stay involved in basketball,” he said. “The decision has nothing to do with basketball.”