Gilroy High hires new athletic director

Julie Berggren was hired as Gilroy High School's athletic

Gilroy High School stayed in house with its hiring of a new
athletic director, naming nine-year GHS employee Julie Berggren to
the post. She replaces longtime athletic director Jack Daley.Full
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Gilroy High School stayed in house with its hiring of a new athletic director, naming nine-year GHS employee Julie Berggren to the post.

Berggren is replacing longtime athletic director Jack Daley, who held the position for 11 years before his removal following a Gilroy Unified School District investigation surrounding a DUI accident and arrest of former GHS track and field coach Alvin Harrison in April.

Berggren confirmed her hiring Tuesday and said her pursuit of the position had a lot to do with keeping the school’s athletic traditions intact while enabling a smooth transition into a new era.

“I think that there’s an understanding that there needed to be someone in place right now, someone who knows what’s going on,” Berggren said. “I definitely wanted to make sure that an outsider didn’t come in and start making changes as someone who doesn’t know the pulse of Gilroy High School. I want to make sure that we continue an excellent athletic program at Gilroy High School and that all parties involved feel supported.”

Berggren stood as one of Daley’s many vocal supporters – a campaign to “Bring Jack Back” – in light of his May dismissal and said she had numerous discussions with her friend and colleague about following in his footsteps as head of the program.

“I had lots and lots of conversations with Jack about what to expect and what (the job) is going to be like,” Berggren said. “I got a lot of encouraging words from Jack, and I think that definitely helped in my decision. Having his blessing was something that was needed for me to move forward.”

Berggren said she was interviewed Thursday by GHS Principal Marco Sanchez, faculty and support staff. An email announcing the new hire was sent out Friday to GHS faculty.

No school board or district members were involved in the interview.

“That kind of surprised me,” Berggren said.

Berggren has been GHS’s activities director for the past five years as well as the Mustangs varsity softball manager the past two seasons. She arrived on campus 10 years ago as a physical education instructor. After four years, Berggren departed but returned one year later to take on her activities director role where she was in charge of areas such as student government interactions on campus, to organizing rallies, dances and honor roll brunches among other responsibilities.

“I always thought I would be activities director the rest of my life. I enjoyed it immensely. It kept me super, super busy. I enjoyed working with the leadership kids,” Berggren said. “This is going to be a different challenge. Hopefully I can do it half as well as Jack did.”

Berggren said she will continue to manage the GHS softball team, which finished runner-up in the Central Coast Section in 2011.