Burt Codera grew up in Campbell and attended Westmont High, but the new Bruins Head Football Coach has four siblings who graduated from Santa Clara High. His mother’s side dates back four generations in Santa Clara.
“All my brothers played through Santa Clara Pop Warner and then at the high school. My mom has been a volunteer in the program for probably 25 years,” remarked Codera on his family’s background in Santa Clara. “Our community ties are pretty deep. That’s why getting the job at the high school is special to me. The school is part of my family’s roots.”
All three of Codera’s brothers are set to join him as coaches on the Bruins’ varsity staff. Also joining the staff is Pedro Martinez, who has been a baseball coach at Santa Clara High for the past two years. Remaining on the varsity football staff from last year’s team is Andrew Calderon.
“This is [Calderon’s] fourth staff that he will be on, I think that speaks more about him than everyone who keeps on keeping him,” remarked previous Bruins Head Coach Hank Roberts on Calderon. “It just speaks to the type of person and type of coach he is. As my defensive coordinator, that was a small role he played comparatively to all the other stuff he was for us.”
“He and I would joke because I’m not a religious guy by any stretch, but he’s a youth pastor,” continued Roberts. “One of the things he and I would joke about is that he was my spiritual guidance person. He would help calm me in stressful situations and help guide me through different things, both on the field and off the field.”
Codera admits he was initially worried about retaining any of the previous staff. Even though the school allowed him to hand pick his all of his coaches, Codera was convinced after meeting with Calderon that he was the type of coach he wanted to keep around.
“To be honest I was reluctant to keep anybody,” admitted Codera. “Just because, typically as a new coach, you kind of want to clean house and bring in all your own guys. There is a loyalty factor in football and to have a guy on your staff who you don’t know is loyal or not is kind of scary.”
“But after getting to know Andrew, I quickly realized he’s a Santa Clara Bruins guy for life,” continued Codera. “He went to school there, he’s coached there for a long time. He doesn’t have any loyalty to the previous staffs, his loyalty is to the school.”
The freshly configured staff recently completed their first two weeks of spring ball as the players and the coaches got to know each other. While Codera is a first time Head Coach at any level, he has 11 years coaching experience at various levels.
After graduating from Westmont in 2004, Codera played some junior college at Foothill before getting into coaching in 2007. He has coached Pop Warner, high school, and most recently was the offensive coordinator at De Anza college. Codera admits he is a firm believer in adapting his system to best take advantage of the type of players he has on his roster.
“My philosophy has always kind of been to adapt our offense around the talent and players that we have,” said Codera. “The system that I learned over at De Anza is versatile enough that we can adapt it to any type of player or any style or identity that we want to form. At the junior college rank we had high turnover, every summer we had a new team. We weren’t able to say we are a spread team and you have to fit our system or you can’t play for us. Instead we were like ‘let’s get the best players we can get and put them in the best position to be successful.’ So that’s been my football philosophy.”
“I still haven’t figured out what this team’s identity is gonna be yet,” continued Codera. “We’re exploring with different things right now. We have a good sized line on both sides and have some good skill position guys. We have some versatility. My choice would ideally be a ground and pound style, but I’m not going to try to put a round peg into a square hole.”
The Bruins will have a few more sessions of practices over the summer before fall practices start on Aug. 3, three weeks before their first game.