Charlie Bertero Brings Outstanding Football Knowledge and Coaching Experience to RHAM

RHAM High School defensive coordinator Charlie Bertero has been involved in high school and college football nearly his entire life. Since he began playing at New Haven‘s Hillhouse High School in 1948, the 81-year old Bertero has followed a path that has seen him serve as a player, coach and administrator both in Connecticut and elsewhere. From its start until now, this journey has been immensely rewarding.
“For me, football has always been about more than the game itself,” Bertero said. “It’s about forming lasting relationships with people.”
Bertero began playing at Hillhouse as a freshman. He quickly became a standout center and linebacker and led Hillhouse to great success. While there, he formed lasting friendships with teammates and gained a passion for football.
“I was a quiet kid, but football brought out my energy and intensity,” Bertero said. “I became a student of the game.”
Following his graduation in 1952, Bertero earned a scholarship to play at Arnold College (now the University of Bridgeport). After one season at Arnold, he transferred to the University of Miami and spent the remainder of his college career there. Bertero was a linebacker and long snapper for the Hurricanes. He again formed close friendships with teammates at both programs.
After Miami, Bertero returned to Connecticut and became a teacher and football coach at Oxford High School. He briefly served as a coach for Naugatuck High in the early 1960’s before becoming an assistant football coach and head swimming coach at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Bertero could only stay away from Naugatuck for so long, however, as he returned a few years later to become its head football coach.
From 1968-72, Bertero established Naugatuck as a dominant program. In his five seasons, the Greyhounds won four Naugatuck Valley League championships. Bertero’s career winning percentage of .680 (42-6-2) ranks third in NVL history.
“I loved coaching at Naugatuck,” Bertero said. “My success was due to a lot of talented players and good assistant coaches and to everyone working together as a team. Naugatuck is simply a great town that loves their sports.”
After five seasons, Bertero left Naugatuck for an assistant coaching position at UConn. He was both a defensive and offensive coordinator for the Huskies from 1973-76.
“The college game was much more athletic and complex than high school,” Bertero said. “The players were very serious and constantly practiced.”
Bertero moved to Florida in the late 80’s and coached high school there, and later served as an athletic director at an academy in Texas.
As successful as Bertero’s teams have been, his most valuable contribution to the sport may be the 2007 book “X’s and O’s Are the Easy Part”. Bertero wrote the book as a guide for young football coaches on how to handle off the field issues. He said that he was highly proud of the work and has received positive feedback about it from coaches and even business professionals.
Bertero moved back to Connecticut six years ago following the death of his wife. Over the summer, he came out of retirement to become RHAM’s defensive coordinator at the request of head coach Tom Hammon. He said that has enjoyed working with Hammon and his players so far and that they are responding to his coaching.
Hammon praised Bertero for his work so far.
“I’ve loved working with Charlie,” he said. “His knowledge of football is outstanding, and he has done a great job of coaching our kids and getting them to believe in what he’s teaching.”
For Bertero, each high school coaching job has been a rewarding experience.
“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve loved teaching and learning from kids,” he said. “As much as I’ve enjoyed coaching them on the field, I’ve equally enjoyed helping them off the field. My goal as a coach has been to help as many kids as I can for as long as I can.”
Bertero said that he wants to ultimately be remembered for his ability to connect with players.
“I’ve been blessed to understand the young mind,” he said. “My door is always open to players, and I’ve consistently treated them with respect and tried to let them know where things stand.”

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