Rapid River graduate named new A.D.
RAPID RIVER — Four years after graduating from Rapid River, Luke Bero is back at his alma mater as the athletic director.
Bero unofficially accepted the job Aug. 22 and was officially named the school’s A.D. at Monday’s board meeting. He will replace Tony Perino, who left to take the A.D. job at his alma mater of Escanaba over the summer.
After graduating from Rapid River in 2015, Bero went to St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis. to play football. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and concentration management last spring before returning home for the summer.
Bero was just planning on helping coach the football team, but when this job opened up, he couldn’t turn it down.
“It’s kind of something I’ve always thought about wanting to do,” Bero said. “I went for business management, but originally I really wanted to do sports management. I just really wanted to go to St. Norbert and they don’t have it. The idea was to do business management and try to get into athletic directing.
“Obviously, (this is) my old high school and I’m pretty passionate about Rapid River, so when it opened up, I was here anyways. Honestly, I was just planning on helping out with the football team and substitute teaching in the fall, just so I could be home and help out with the team a little bit and get some coaching experience … but when that came up, I thought I could still help out and I’m already here, so I’d love to get some experience with that. It just kind of worked out that way … it was kind of perfect.”
Bero has helped with the football team in the weight room each summer since graduating, but always had to leave before the season started to go back to college.
“Now, I have the opportunity to be here full-time and I just want to be a full-time coach,” he said. “Coach (Steve Ostrenga) was nice enough to let me be on the staff this year and help out with the d-line and the defense, so I have more of a full-time role now.”
Bero was a three-sport athlete for the Rockets, playing football, basketball and track. Bero was part of the 2013 football team that was an eight-player state runner-up and he was selected as a Bridge Alliance all-conference first team running back and defensive lineman his senior year in 2014. In track, he has the fifth longest shot put throw in school history at 41 feet, eight inches.
Asked about getting his first A.D. job where he used to play, Bero responded with excitement.
“Oh, it’s awesome,” he said. “I’ve thought about being a coach here before and it’s cool just being an assistant. I’m one of coach O’s assistants this year, but just to be an athletic director for now is pretty awesome. It’s a little bit surreal to me because it just all happened pretty quick and I’m really excited about it.”
Bero knows there will be a lot to learn, but also knows the supporting staff around him will be there to help.
“I’ve got a lot to learn with the details here and everything because, obviously, I don’t have any direct athletic director experience, but I’ve been around the program and all the teachers and coaches and administrators here,” he said. “I’ve known (school superintendent) Dr. (Jay) Kulbertis since I was a student here. They’ll help me a lot with learning. I hope to learn all the ins and outs and all the little things. Everybody sees the coaching and scheduling stuff, but there’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes that I have to learn yet and accomplish.”
His goal is to make everything run smooth.
“I’d like to make everything as smooth as possible at Rapid River,” he said. “I just want everything to look professional and hope the sporting events can go smoothly and that we can put our teams and coaches in the best positions to succeed. That’s my goal.”