Bert Esposito is a longtime Temecula resident and one of the valleys most long standing successful football coaches. Those that know Bert, know he was born to be a coach.
Esposito coached at Linfield Christian from 1995-99, then went on to turn things around for a Ramona team that had a two year drought in the win column. After that he led the Rancho Verde Mustangs for a year, was an offensive coordinator at La Sierra, and then took the reins at Paloma Valley where he had great success from 2004 to 2016 before stepping down.
Last season Esposito was an assistant at Chaparral High School, but has now officially returned to head coaching after announcing on Facebook Wednesday, Dec. 20, that he’s the new head football coach at Temecula Valley High School.
“I am extremely excited about leading the Golden Bears. They obviously have struggled for the last 10 years, so it is going to be a process and a challenge,” Esposito said. I have taken on those challenges my whole career and so far it has worked out very well in every instance. I am now back in the town that I have lived in for the last 23 years and I feel like it’s my opportunity to try and revive the tradition.”
It’s no secret the Golden Bears program has struggled since founding coach, Bud Kane, retired in 2007 after 22 seasons. Since then the Golden Bears have made the playoffs just once when they lost in the first round to Mission Viejo under Rick Mey, who was the head coach for two years before Lenny Dykes took over for the past two seasons. Last year Temecula Valley had one of their worst records ever going 0-10 and now Esposito will be Temecula Valley’s fifth head football coach since Kane retired.
The first thing the new TV coach says he wants to do is go in and change the culture. “I will come in and set some standards and hold the kids accountable to those standards including academics, conditioning, behavior, strength & conditioning, leadership, development, etc.”
In 26 seasons overall, Esposito has a record of 161-115-4, including a Division 10 championship in 1991 with Southern California Christian in Orange. The role for Esposito at Temecula Valley High School is comprised of being a walk on head coach and he will continue to work at Paloma Valley and says he is still happy with that. “I don’t have to say goodbye to all the outstanding coaches, teachers, staff and students that I have built solid relationships for 14 years. Now I get to add to that and bring in new relationships and help to affect so many more lives. I look at it as a huge blessing to be a part of two outstanding institutions. I am excited for the challenge.”
As for hiring a new staff, he will first be looking at the guys that were working on staff with Coach Dykes. “I feel coach Dykes did a very good job here and I intend to continue to keep him on staff as he is an outstanding person and coach. The kids Love him and I can see why. I will also be looking around the community to fill many spots till I find the guys that are willing to buy into what I am about and willing to grind and put a lot of energy into what it will take to turn the program around.”
Esposito says he just so appreciative of all the support and excitement that has already been pointed in his direction. “I have had hundreds of positive reinforcements on social media and have truly felt the energy from the people of Temecula and the belief that we will get Temecula Valley High School competitive again. The principal and athletic director, Allen Williams and Grant Martin, have been tremendously supportive already and I can’t thank them enough for that already. All I can promise to everyone is that I am here to give it my all and I plan on doing that all the time. I love this game and helping to change lives and I have a tremendous passion for what I do. I can’t wait to see what happens.”