Q&A with Life Pacific College Assistant Coach Brady Bersano; Beginning of a Tradition by Al Fontes

Brady Bersano (Cal Baptist) NCAA Division 2 All-American/Finalist/Academic All-American (photo: Milka Soko)

“BEGINNING OF A TRADITION”

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Al Fontes, TCW State Editor

Earlier this year, Life Pacific College in San Dimas announced the fielding of a newly established wrestling program in the Southern California area, which as of this writing is scheduled to begin competition in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (aka, NAIA) division during the 2018 – ’19 season. Leading this program is former Cal Baptist Assistant Coach Arsen Aleksanyan, a well respected wrestling figure in the state of California and abroad. Joining his staff is one of his top performers at Cal Baptist in Brady Bersano of Clovis. While at Cal Baptist, Brady earned NCAA All-American and was a national finalist. In addition, he did very well in the classroom and was a two-time NCAA Academic All-American in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Prior to Cal Baptist, Brady was a two-time California Community College State Champion and All-American at Fresno City College, earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award in the process. Moreover, he earned Academic All-American honors twice for Fresno City and was chosen the Fresno City College Male Athlete of the Year in 2013. According to Coach Aleksanyan, he initially recruited Brady to California Baptist from Fresno City and was an integral part of his development, both on the mat and getting to know him as a student/athlete.

“Brady Bersano is the perfect fit for the Life Pacific program. Not only is he an outstanding athlete on the mat, he is an exceptional student, has a great personality, and as a coach will only benefit our program moving forward,” Coach Arsen Aleksanyan.

Brady’s early roots in the sport of wrestling began at California and national power, Clovis High School in the Central Valley. It’s no secret how tough it is for one to make the starting varsity line-up at Clovis, let alone standout among a decorated program that holds many state records, which to date includes 13 state team titles, 40 individual CIF State Champions, and 167 state medalists produced since the first state meet in 1973. While at Clovis, Brady didn’t make any noise at the section or state level until his junior season where he reached the Central Valley section finals and qualified to state meet. Going 0-2 at state did not deter Brady, but only motivated him to work even harder to achieve his goal of earning a medal at the toughest high school state meet in the country. With extra hard work on the mat during the post season combined with his focus and commitment to reach the next level, Brady’s perseverance paid off during his senior season where he reached the podium at the state championships, placing a hard fought 7th place in a highly competitive weight group. It was at this point Brady etched his name in the storied history of the wrestling program at Clovis and set a solid foundation in his wrestling career at the next level and beyond.

 A Championship Moment – Brady and Coach Keysaw Celebrating his California Community College State title – Fresno City

This past week, I had the opportunity to speak to Paul Keysaw, a 1991 NCAA Champion for Cal State Bakersfield, 2012 California Hall-of-Fame inductee and long-time championship head coach at Fresno City and Moorpark College in the 1990s. During our conversation, it was brought to my attention that he has something in common with both Brady and Coach Arsen Aleksanyan. In short, Coach Keysaw had the distinct opportunity to coach Arsen and Brady at the community college level, Arsen at Moorpark College in the late 1990s and Brady more recently at Fresno City. The recent news of Arsen taking the helm at Life Pacific and this past week the addition of Brady as an assistant truly brought a great deal of joy to Coach Keysaw.

“Both State Champs, both OW, and part of a state championship team. I am so very proud of Brady for pursuing his dream and giving back to the great sport of Wrestling. Two things have consumed me about Brady and Arsen coaching together:

1 – How lucky are those student/athletes to have such great mentors in their life.

2 – How fortunate is wrestling to have such great coaches to produce the next generation of Wrestling Coaches!! 

That makes an old coach very proud,” Paul Keysaw, Head Coach – Fresno City College

As the state editor for the California Wrestler and historian for the Golden State, I have compiled a great deal of our state’s statistics and run across thousands of names in the process. Prior to this opportunity to write about Brady, I had come across his name many times while compiling historical data, but never met or spoke with him. I will say that in just the short time I have spoken and interacted with Brady, I am very impressed. Not only is Brady an exceptional wrestler, he’s a well-spoken person, has a great personality, approachable, and a demeanor that I believe will benefit this young NAIA program in the future years to come. The following is a Question and Answer session I had the pleasure of doing with Brady. Enjoy!

Q&A WITH BRADY BERSANO

 

TCW: How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?

COACH BERSANO: I started wrestling in 4th grade when it was the only sport that I could participate in. My friend, Lestee, and I joined wrestling expecting to play basketball the following year. After 4th grade, I decided I really enjoyed the sport and no longer wanted to pursue basketball (Lestee went on to pursue basketball). Almost two decades later, here I am still involved in the sport. Crazy to think how casual my introduction was, and what my life would be like if wrestling wasn’t the only option for me at the time.

TCW: Who was your biggest influence in the sport?

COACH BERSANOThis is a tough one. My parents were always super supportive of me and were a major role in my success. I could probably count the number of matches they missed on one hand. I was also blessed with incredible coaches at each school I attended. The coaching staff at Clovis High, Fresno City College, and CBU were paramount in my success in the sport. I would not be half the wrestler I am today if it were not for the time and energy each of them poured into me. That is one of the big reasons why I felt led to coach and am honored to be able to play a similar role in the lives of these young men at Life Pacific College.

TCW: What was attractive about the opportunity to take on the Assistant Coaching position at Life Pacific College?

Fresno City – 2012 CA Community College *OW

COACH BERSANOLaunching a new college wrestling program in Southern California with Coach Arsen is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was very comfortable in my position in the Sports Marketing department at ASICS America; however, the opportunity to work side-by-side with a coach that I know so well and have come to love was too great to pass up. Additionally, the ability to continue my involvement with the sport in a more hands-on way attracted me.

TCW: Did you ever think that you would be coaching with your college coach, Arsen Aleksanyan? What does this mean to you?

COACH BERSANOWhen I graduated, I never would have predicted that I would coach with Arsen. I figured I would stop by the occasional practice/camp and roll around, but I had no clue that I would ever be on staff with him. God’s plan is definitely greater than mine.

TCW: How long have you coached the sport of wrestling?

COACH BERSANOThough I wrestled for 14 years, my coaching experience is limited. While I was at Fresno City, I coached a year at Clark Intermediate and was also involved with Clovis High as a volunteer coach for some time. Since then my coaching experience has been in the form of summer camps and mentoring other teammates.

TCW: What do you enjoy most about coaching?

COACH BERSANOThe ability to give back to the sport of wrestling and inspire, mentor, and provide a positive God-fearing role model for young men. I cannot think of a better way to do so.

TCW:  What are your short and long-term goals for the program?

COACH BERSANOBuild a team with a good work ethic, GPA, and chemistry that honors God no matter the circumstances. We have the potential to be successful on the national level right out of the gate. My goal is to tap into each wrestler’s individual potential, and if everyone reaches their goals, we will do extremely well as a whole.

TCW: In your opinion, what can the California Wrestling Community do to grow support of College Wrestling?

COACH BERSANOConnect with local college programs and follow their successes throughout the season. Come to home duals to support. Speaking of getting connected.. I should probably take a second to shout out our team social media pages. We have an instagram (@lifepacificwrestling) and FB (Life Pacific Wrestling). Head on over and give us a follow!

Brady instructing youth at the Warriors Camp

TCW: It’s my understanding that you worked for ASICS as a Sports Marketing Assistant Manager. Please describe this interesting experience.

COACH BERSANOI came onboard ASICS America as a Sports Marketing Coordinator for Wrestling, Tennis, and Training. A year later, I was promoted to Assistant Manager for all sports, with a focus in Wrestling. Within the wrestling category, I was the main point of contact for all of our sponsored athletes and events. I worked closely with Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, Logan Stieber, Nick Gwiazdowski, Adeline Gray, Dan Gable, Nahshon Garrett, Jason Chamberlain, Ty Walz and their respective agents. I also worked closely with the NHSCA board as we sponsored NHSCA High School Nationals and National Duals.

Working for a brand that has supported wrestling at the level ASICS has since the very beginning was a great honor. Historically, no other brand holds a candle to ASICS when it comes to support of wrestling in the US + globally. I had an amazing experience and met a lot of great people at ASICS and in the wrestling community. Though I no longer work for ASICS, I will continue to represent the brand as a coach since LPC Wrestling will be competing in ASICS gear head-to-toe. I honestly would have been really upset if the college required us to wear a different brand as many universities are doing due to “all school deals.”

TCW: Having competed for one of the top high school programs in the country at Clovis, as well as the most accomplished California Junior College programs at Fresno City, what did you learn from these experiences that you can use as a coach at Life Pacific?

COACH BERSANOI learned what it takes to build great programs and reach success at each level. My experiences in each of these programs will play a huge role in how I coachat LPC. Coach Arsen and I will be looking to mold our wrestlers into national champions and all-americans right away.

 

 

Brady Bersano Profile

CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY (Division II)
2x NCAA Academic All-American: 2014-15 / 2015-16
2x Super Region IV Champion: 2014-15 / 2015-16
2x NCAA DII National Qualifier: 2014-15 (Top 12) / 2015-16
NCAA DII All-American (Finalist): 2015-16
Overall Collegiate Record (minus redshirt year): 130-21 (40 falls)
BS degree in Marketing (Cum Laude)

FRESNO CITY COLLEGE (CCCAA)
2x State Champ/2x All-American: 2011-12/2012-13
2x Academic All-American: 2011-12 / 2012-13
FCC Male Athlete of the Year: 2012-13
CA Community College Wrestler of the Year: 2012-13

CLOVIS HIGH SCHOOL (Central Section)
California State Medalist (7th Place): 2010-11
2x Central Section Valley Finalist: 2009-10 / 2010-11
2x State Qualifier: 2009-10 / 2010-11

In the beginning…Brady competing in grade school

2011 CIF State Championships – Reaching the hard fought medal round.

2011 CIF State Championships – Achieving his high school goal of earning a state medal 

Brady with Coaches Arsen Aleksanyan and Lennie Zelesky after earning NCAA All-American honors at Cal Baptist University.

2016 NCAA Division II Championships – Coach Arsen Aleksanyan prepping Brady for the finals