Steve Bergman

While BJ Mayer strives to be a father figure of sorts for his girls program, long-time boys basketball coach Steve Bergman might just be the crazy uncle. Candid and clamorous, Bergman knows how to get the very best out of his players.

The Gazette’s boys basketball coach of the decade, Steve Bergman led the West High boys’ basketball team to three consecutive state championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014, establishing an Iowa high school basketball dynasty. 2010 was the only year of the past decade that Bergman’s squad didn’t make an appearance at Wells Fargo Arena

Over the years, Bergman has accumulated 18 state tournament appearances in which he proved the mantra “defense wins championships”. Intense ball pressure and ball denial has aided Bergman’s teams to many stellar defensive nights, most recently limiting class 4A’s second highest-scoring offense to only 32 points.

“[Coach Bergman] would be on us all the time about the smallest things,” said former West player and current professional player Jeremy Morgan ’13. “It didn’t start to sink in until around my junior year if we did all the little things better than every other team we would win games.”

Morgan was a part of two state championship teams and contributed to the 60-game winning streak in the early 2010s that put West High basketball on the map nationally. With all the wins and accomplishments, Bergman likes to describe his program with one word: consistency. 

“The system is the same, we try to be really good defensively, we try to take care of the ball, we try to play fast, we don’t always do that, we try to understand what a good and bad shot is, and that’s what your practice is focused on,” Bergman said. 

“It’s never easy really to be us. For everybody else it’s a huge game,” Bergman said. Throughout Bergman’s time at West, he’s made winning consistent.

As March approaches Bergman and the boys’ basketball team have their eyes on not only another state tournament run but a championship. All year Bergman has put together solid defense performances and schemes to win big games against highly-ranked Dowling Catholic, Dubuque Hempstead and Waterloo West.

A state championship to start off the new decade could be the topper to Bergman’s career but until then there are more games to be won as the Hall of Fame awaits.