Huntington Beach, Calif. – We're sure it's not the way that long time baseball coach Bert Villarreal envisioned retiring but after 32 seasons at the helm, number nine is hanging it up for good. His final campaign was cut short due the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the country, but he leaves behind a legacy at Golden West College.
He retires with 626 career victories as the head coach of the Rustlers baseball program, he's been the leader since 1989, and only the second head coach in program history. He has been part of the Golden West baseball program since 1981 as a player, turned coach in 1985 when he started as an assistant coach under Fred Hoover who the baseball field has been named after. Associate head coach Andrew Ramos said "Bert is Golden West baseball, his impact on young men's lives over that span is truly something special. His guidance, mentorship, and friendship have allowed me to really grow as a coach, man, and father."
Over 300 kids went on to play baseball at the four-year level, of which 140 went on to the play at division one schools. Over 50 of those student-athletes signed minor league baseball contracts, seven have made the major leagues. One has won a World Series in local standout from Santa Ana, Chris Devenski in 2017 with the Houston Astros. In that season he was also selected as an American League All-Star in July.
Bert has bled green and yellow and has not only led countless men on and off the field but was ready to help the entire athletic department at the drop of a hat. Anyone in the athletic department who needed help, advice, or guidance could always trust that Bert would provide an honest and real answer when needed. If it was muscle or volunteers needed for anything on campus, Bert would be the first to offer himself and/or his team to complete the task. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need and for that he will truly be missed.
In his next chapter of life, Bert and his wife Emily who is also retiring from teaching, plan on starting their retirement together traveling around country. Along with spending more time with their children Brian, Katie, and Brianna and their grandchildren.