April 18, 2011
For more information, contact Bob Luder at 816.501.2434.
KANSAS CITY, Mo - - Justin Berna, who in January joined the Avila University football staff as offensive coordinator, has been named the Eagles' head football coach, according to Ned Harris, Ph.D., Avila's vice president for enrollment and student development.
He replaces Kevin Porter, who recently accepted a position as director of athletics at Point University (formerly Atlanta Christian College) in Atlanta, Ga., after one season at the helm of Eagles football.
While this is Berna's first position as a head coach, he takes over the Avila program with a wealth of coaching experience. Prior to joining the Eagles' staff, he was the offensive coordinator at MacMurray College (NCAA Division III) in Jacksonville, Ill., which under his play calling set seven offensive school records. Prior to that, he spent three seasons as the wide receivers and running backs coach at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., where he also handled all that team's strength and conditioning responsibilities. During his three seasons, the Lions reached the NAIA national playoffs twice, reaching the national semifinals with an 11-2 record and No. 3 national ranking in 2008. Before that, Berna was a two-year letter winner and captain as a player at Lindenwood.
Berna, 26, received his master of arts in education with an emphasis in strength and conditioning and his bachelor of arts in English from Lindenwood. He completed his associate degree in liberal arts at West Hills Community College (Calif.) in 2004.
"I'm going to be here 100 percent for the kids," Berna said. "And, I'm going to be here for the long term. I want to make (Avila) a power here in Kansas City, and there's no reason why that can't happen.
"We have some momentum; we've had a really good spring. Right now, we have to focus on the classroom, finish up the spring strong, then roll into fall."
Porter, a former defensive back with the Kansas City Chiefs, leaves Avila after one season in which the Eagles finished 2-8. By accepting the position in Atlanta, he moves an hour away from his hometown and into an administrative role for the first time.
"My experience here has been great," Porter said. "I feel we've made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. I think Justin will do a very good job. A lot of the qualities you're looking for in a football coach, he's got."
"I am appreciative to Kevin Porter for the leadership he has provided our football program and for bringing Justin Berna to his staff at Avila," added Harris. "Justin is a bright and talented young coach who brings significant football knowledge, great energy and a strong commitment to building Avila football into one of the premier teams in the Heart of America Athletic Conference."
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.