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Coach B: The End of an Era

Nicole Goodman
Former Head Coach, Cliff Berinobis, hugs 2023 graduate Si’Marion Anderson after the Wahawks fall short to West Des Moines Valley in a sub-state game.

“There comes a time in everyone’s life where you will have to make an unpopular decision,” says previous varsity boys basketball Head Coach, Cliff Berinobis, as he reflects on his choice to resign from his coaching position. After dedicating nearly a decade to the West High boys basketball team, Berinobis announced that he will be stepping down from his coaching position on October 11. 

Berinobis has been found on the sidelines of every boys basketball event since 2012, making his absence a difficult change for past and current players, coaches and spectators. His 2022-23 season proved to be successful as he coached the boys basketball team to a sub-state appearance. 

“I have mixed emotions about Coach B stepping down,” says Jarred Johnston, an assistant coach for the boys basketball team. Johnston has been a coach for three years now, all of them being under Berinobis’ lead. Johnston shares that Berinobis’ absence will leave a mark on the team as well as himself. “He has played a significant role in helping me grow as a coach and as an individual,” he says. 

2018 graduate, Carondis Harris-Anderson, shares that Coach Berinobis has impacted his life on and off the court since he was a freshman. “He showed me how things will be at the next level, and the things he taught me I was able to take with me not only on the basketball court but also in the real world,” he says. Harris-Anderson is now a senior at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri where he plays on their men’s basketball team.

Ultimately, my wish is for the program to continue to thrive and for the players to have the opportunity to learn and grow under the guidance of someone who is committed to their development, both on and off the court.

— Jarred Johnston

Senior Shuncere Wortham has been playing basketball under Berinobis’ coaching since he was a freshman. Wortham shares that this season feels like starting over for a majority of the remaining basketball program. “We will change a lot, we will have to find our own energy. Definitely will be a big piece missing as this will be our first year without Coach Barnett as well, almost like we’re starting a new era.”

As Berinobis moves on from coaching at West High, Wortham shares the impact the coach has left on his life. “I am truly grateful for the positive influence Coach B had on my life. He taught me valuable lessons about teamwork, discipline, and perseverance that I will carry with me forever,” he says. 

Harris-Anderson notes that Berinobis has continued to support him since he graduated from West High, “I’ve been able to call Coach B for anything. He still opens the gym up for me when I’m home so I have somewhere to play basketball at. This summer, he allowed me to help him coach as an internship to get my bachelor’s degree.”  

Former Assistant Coach, Ben Barnett shares that even as he resigns from his coaching position, he is still emotional about the absence of Berinobis, “I feel like the entire extended Waterloo West Family – Sad. I’ve known Coach Berinobis for over 20 years. He’s always been an honest, tough, and compassionate leader that just so happened to be an excellent basketball coach.”  Barnett left his coaching position for the Wahawks after the 2022-23 season came to an end and, alongside Berinobis, will not be returning to the program this year.

Without the coach he has known throughout high school, Wortham is hopeful that the team will continue to play well this season and find their identity as a varsity team. Wortham wishes Coach Berinobis well as he enters a new phase in his career.

Although there is not yet a decision on the coach that will take over Berinobis’ spot, he hopes that the team is given a coach to keep the spirit of the team. “My hope is that the next coach would put morals before winning because without morals comes failure.  If morals are instilled into each and every one involved with the team, winning becomes natural,” Berinobis says.

As a coach, Johnston shares how this affects the rest of the coaching staff, “With the announcement, a cloud of uncertainty looms over the staff and program. But, it’s an opportunity for someone to step up, take on more responsibility, and lead.” Johnston says that as a new coach is named, athletes will be forced to adjust to new leadership and coaching styles. “For the staff, depending on who is named interim it could lead to additional departures or shuffling of coaching roles,” he says. 

Barnett shares the change that he believes this news will have on the program, “You can’t lose someone like Coach B and carry-on like nothing happened. But I’m hopeful and encouraged that he left the program in a better place than when he inherited it. So, whoever takes over as head coach, will have the opportunity to coach a great group of young men.”

God has truly blessed me with so many great memories. I am humbled that I had the honor of being part of so many amazing young men’s lives. They have given as much to me as I have given to them.

— Cliff Berinobis

Despite losing a major part of their program and team, the coaching staff and athletes wish Berinobis well as he steps down. “My hope is that he leaves behind a lasting legacy of leadership, mentorship, and dedication to Wahawk basketball and West High. I hope his successor continues to instill the values of family, respect, and toughness that he emphasized throughout his tenure,” Johnston says. Wortham follows this up by joking that he wishes Berinobis finds peace and “to become the number 1 piano player in the world.” 

As he reflects on his time as a coach at West High, Berinobis believes that the best thing he has done as a coach was not creating talented athletes or coaching the team to sub-state games, but creating a family. “My greatest accomplishment as the Head Coach at Waterloo West will always be the family atmosphere we created here and restoring the pride for everyone that has been a supporter of the Waterloo West Wahawk Boys basketball program,” he says. 

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About the Contributor
Ali Parkhurst, News and Sports Editor; Yearbook Editor-In-Chief
(she/her) Ali Parkhurst is a senior at West High. This is her second year as a Wahawk Insider staff member, Parkhurst is also the Editor-In-Chief for the Wahawk Yearbook. Outside of school, Parkhurst is a varsity cheerleader and a server at Doughy Joeys. Parkhurst enjoys photography, running, and spending time with her friends.
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  • M

    Mike HurnNov 17, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    I coached the West Waterloo Men’s Basketball Team for 25 years and have followed them since I left teaching and coaching to attend Moody Theological Seminary and become a Counseling and Teaching Pastor. Great memories at West High especially playing in the State Tournament in Des Moines.
    … Mike Hurn

  • A

    Ashley BerinobisOct 26, 2023 at 6:33 pm

    Is there a way I can get this article saved please and thank you!