Retired University of Virginia secondary coach Steve Bernstein has been selected to serve the defensive backs coach for the 2011 U.S. Men's National Team, assembled by USA Football. The team will compete July 8-16 in Austria among a field of eight national teams spanning four continents at the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Senior World Championship.
Bernstein is one of 10 members of Team USA's coaching staff, led by former Northwest Missouri State University head coach and three-time NCAA Division II national champion Mel Tjeerdsma. U.S. Men's National Team players must be at least 20 years old.
Fifty-nine (59) countries across five continents possess national football federations dedicated solely to football. USA Football is the sport's national governing body in the United States and is the official football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams.
A coach with 39 years of major college experience, Bernstein was the assistant head coach of the Cavaliers until his retirement in 2008. Bernstein spent four seasons at Virginia. His coaching resume also includes Northern Illinois (2004-05), Arizona (2001-03), LSU (1998-99), Texas (1992-97), Illinois (1998-91), Colorado (1985-87), Virginia Tech (1978-84), Wake Forest (1973-77) and Utah State (1970-72). The Bellflower, Calif., native joined the Marine Corps after graduating from college, serving a tour in Vietnam and rising to the rank of captain.
"I'm excited to be participating in something like this and to be along such outstanding coaches," said Bernstein, who worked alongside Team USA defensive coordinator Lou Tepper at Illinois, Virginia Tech, LSU and Colorado. "This will be my second time representing the USA. It will be a great experience to coach a team in a world championship. You don't get that kind of chance too often in a sport like football."
Tjeerdsma led Northwest Missouri State to a 183-43 (.810) record in 17 seasons at Northwest Missouri State. He was among the first three coaches inducted into the NCAA Division II College Football Hall of Fame before retiring in 2010.
"These men are excellent teachers and football coaches. Our players will enjoy playing for them and I look forward to working beside them," Tjeerdsma said. "We will be well prepared to compete against the world's best in football in Austria."
Forty-five (45) U.S. players will take part in a training camp June 28 to July 4 before departing for Austria. As the sport's national governing body, participation in USA Football's national team program does not affect NCAA eligibility.
The United States is part of Group A along with Australia, Germany and Mexico. Group B includes Austria, Canada, France and Japan. A round robin schedule in group play determines who will compete for gold and bronze medals.