Life has a way of subtly presenting us with opportunity. Things always happen for a purpose, but often times that purpose has a deeper meaning than what initially meets the eye. That seems to be exactly the case with Ryan Bernardi, a man who has undergone drastic changes as a direct result of his intelligence, hard work, and ability to maximize opportunities. So let’s take a closer look at just how he’s rapidly become the best up-and-coming coach in high school basketball…


A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Bernardi graduated high school and set out for greener pastures—which ultimately ended up being Elon University. It was quite the distance for a new opportunity, but he turned out to be more than prepared. Bernardi began working as a manager for the basketball team while getting his degree and seeking out new basketball ventures within North Carolina.


He reached out to an abundance of organizations but was given no real respect as a younger, unknown entity. However, Bernardi would get his first chance from Mid State Magic Basketball Club as a seventh-grade coach. It was certainly a less-than-glamorous situation, but he simply did not have a ton of options as a twenty-year old college student. He made the most of it and eventually worked his way up to their eighth-grade squad.


It wasn’t until Bernardi began working with the North Carolina ICE organization when things really started to take off. He was finally given high school players to work with and did not disappoint. We had them at multiple events and it wasn’t long before all types of folks were buzzing about Bernardi and his very energetic coaching style. Whether he’s in the back gym at Dudley or surrounded by thousands of people in Madison Squad Garden, Bernardi is going to be lively and make sure the officials earn their paycheck.


After the summer, Bernardi was given the opportunity he’s longed for. He was named the head coach at Burlington Christian Academy, a school that had seen basically no real success in the history of their basketball program. Sure, they had a few seasons around the .500 mark, but nothing worth really getting excited about. With almost the exact same roster, Bernardi comes in and makes this group a legitimate contender. Many folks will claim their success was solely from having Brock Williams, Jackeem Herbin, Ryan Roberts, and Collin Wilson all on the same roster, but that’s simply not true. Bernardi is genuinely one of the best game-planners and overall students of the game, especially within North Carolina. While many coaches can get complacent upon getting their own program, Bernardi became hungrier and it was evident in his on-court product.


At this point, Bernardi had just graduated from Elon, led BCA to their best season in school history, and was getting prepared to reenter the travel ball scene. His NC ICE squad hadn’t skipped a beat and was still going toe-to-toe with anyone in the state. Bernardi has always stayed true to his passionate/enthusiastic approach, even after his unprecedented success in the high school game. He’s shown his ability to coach, develop, and make a difference off the court by taking a genuine interest in each of his kids. Bernardi’s ability to coach and motivate is incredible, but what he’s done for some of these kids is simply life-changing.


Just when it felt like Bernardi’s opportunity had finally come to fruition, the cards align and end up with him getting hired as the new head coach at The Burlington School. Will Roberson did an impeccable job with this program but once he decided to step down, there was only one obvious candidate. Bernardi’s commitment allowed them to retain all of their major returning pieces from last year while giving them a newfound chance at acquiring more talent from the surrounding areas. He’s already made two extremely intelligent moves by hiring two noteworthy guys to his coaching staff. Additionally, Bernardi could be building a powerhouse out in Burlington and should compete for a state championship this year. Opportunity is something that must be sought out and no coach in recent memory has done a better job of maximizing his chances than Bernardi.