Only recently he gave up his recreation job with Santa Barbara. Despite the fact that there was little money for new facilities, in his 11 years as director he made good use of what park land and beaches the city had and his programs helped increase annual participation by more than a million people.
Bertka himself is a walking-jogging example of physical fitness. After the first round of the Cable Car Classic tournament last December, he was up half the night finishing scouting reports for various clients. When a friend went to his hotel the next morning to meet him for breakfast, Bertka, dressed in sweat clothes and puffing, was just getting in from a little jog up and down the mountain slopes that San Francisco calls streets.
One Santa Barbara city councilman came to the conclusion not long ago that the recreation director could not possibly be doing justice to his job while carrying on so much outside activity. So he introduced anti-moonlighting legislation. It did not pass, perhaps because there was a public outcry in Bertka's favor. One irate citizen wrote to the local newspaper: "I think it would be an immense improvement to dissolve the council and have Bill Bertka run the town as city manager."
The small tempest resolved itself when Bertka left the department to become president of Insignis Sports and Recreation, Inc., which is building a golf-tennis-swimming complex in California's Santa Ynez Valley and is negotiating to buy a country club near Santa Cruz.
Bertka really doesn't moonlight as much as some people think. The scouting hobby/business couldn't run without his wife Solveig, a dark-haired Swede who knows precisely how long it takes a package to get from Santa Barbara to any coach's office in the country. She types letters and reports from Bill's taped dictation, docs the bulk of the filing, handles the payroll and billing and somehow manages to keep Bertka from smothering under a pile of paper work.
The Views reports are set down on forms that Bertka has developed and refined over the last five or six years, forms that have been widely copied. To some of his associates they are pains in the typing fingers. One tired scout said, "Your scouting forms are worse than an Ivy League entrance exam."
Last-minute requests cause the most aggravation. It seems that coaches are reasonably sane and well-organized before the season starts, so their neatly typed letters arrive early. At tournament time in December, when unexpected opponents pop up in the finals or in the losers' brackets, the frantic phone calls and the incoherent notes scrawled on napkins begin to pour in. During the annual holiday rush it is not unusual for Solveig to get up at 4:30 a.m. (sometimes meeting Bill coming in from some out-of-town assignment), trudge out to the backyard office, switch on the heater and try to catch up with her work. A real hurry-up job occasionally forces Bertka to use an untried scout, which can be disastrous.
"We've come up with bad reports—not often, but it has happened—and it's just brutal," he says. "It always happens when you're in a bind and somebody recommends a man. You try him and the guy really bombs you out. What can you do? The coach just loses complete faith in you. I don't care how many good reports you sent, he only remembers the bad one."
Some coaches, including UCLA's John Wooden, like to have their own teams scouted, just as if the report was for an opponent. Bertka hates to do it. He once was hired to give an extensive critique of a team, and the coach was furious with the results, taking every criticism as a personal insult.
Bertka has not overlooked very many other moneymaking angles in the scouting business. He boosts his profits by selling the same report to several different coaches (but never, he swears, to the coach whose team has been dissected). He is willing to sell year-old reports at reduced rates. In the past he has offered a $35 California Junior College Talent Report. He even advertises a package deal: Bertka Views will prepare reports on a team's entire schedule. ("Why burden your assistants with scouting assignments when they can be doing invaluable recruiting? Why should you have to take time away from the team or fight that road at night? Leave the scouting to us.") Bertka brags that Kansas State bought this service in 1969-70 and won the Big Eight championship.