Jason Harward co-editor-in-chief
Jarrod Bunch, the new head coach of Beverly’s fledgeling football team, has had an illustrious career as a football player. He won four Big Ten Championships at the University of Michigan from 1987-1990 and was then selected 27th overall in the 1991 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
Yet Bunch’s football career started much more humbly than that. In the eighth grade, his hometown high school football team in Ashtabula, Ohio, won its first game in five years, a losing streak that makes the current Normans 21-game slide look manageable. The realities of his high school playing career are very similar to what he will preach as Beverly’s newest coach.
“Beverly Hills reminds me of my high school. The program [in Ashtabula, Ohio,] has never been about championships, but it has been about if you work hard, you can make things happen,” Bunch said.
Although he has worked in Hollywood and lived in the Beverly Hills community since 2002, Bunch never really followed the nearby football team. In fact, he only found out about the coaching vacancy when he offered to run a summer football camp at the high school.
“Ever since 1991, I’ve run a football camp in my hometown, so I just thought about coming and doing a camp with the Beverly Hills team. Then I found out the team was on a downswing and they were looking for a head coach,” Bunch said. “When the job came available, I said I would do it.”
Nick Sullivan, a two-way starter entering his senior season, has been impressed by Bunch during the short times they have been able to meet.
“He seems like an experienced man, and I feel like he will help the Normans get back on the map and start winning games,” Sullivan said.
As far as coaching style goes, Bunch believes football is rooted in the fundamentals and won in individual battles, a mantra preached by Bo Schembechler, his coach at the University of Michigan.
“Football is a battle of individual competition. The team is the war. You fight your individual battle on every play, and the team is everybody doing their part. But you gotta win your individual battles,” Bunch said.
However, more important than scheme for Bunch is the players he will have to work with. While he realizes this is his most immediate challenge, he thinks preaching the improved safety and the huge opportunities presented by football can ease any uneasiness parents may have with the dangers of the sport.
“Football right now is the safest it has ever been. In my day, if you got a head injury, you’re out a series and back in. Now it’s two weeks. The hits that were allowed then are no longer okay,” Bunch said. “Also, the opportunities that it has allowed me are unreal. I got a full scholarship to the University of Michigan because of playing football. If your child wants to play, why take that opportunity away from them?”
To join what Bunch describes as a “new era” of Norman football, talk to any current football player or find anyone in the athletic office. It’s that easy.