Dick Bednar as Coach

He's Got the Moves

Dick Bednar Moves from the Technical World of Computers to the Playing Fields as a Volunteer for Youth Soccer

October 24, 2006

By Pamela McLaren

For more than 30 years, Dick Bednar has become known around campus as much for his dry wit and charm as for his computer skills.
The senior director of information technology joined the campus in 1973 as a faculty member in finance but discovered that he was much more interested in what computers could do than in figures and spreadsheets. So the draft of his doctoral dissertation got dusty while he moved into the university’s fledgling Computer Center. He’s never looked back.
So what does a man formerly of facts and figures, now bits and bites, do with his free time? If you’re an athlete’s parent in Orange County, you’re out on the playing fields watching your kids play.
Two decades ago, Bednar was out on a field watching his two sons compete as members of a Junior United Soccer Association (JUSA) soccer team. And as many parents find themselves, serving as a volunteer: first as a coach and then as a referee. While serving as a referee, he noticed the condition of the athletic fields — many on school grounds. Budget cutbacks had cut the school district staff that normally kept the fields, so Bednar and others began doing it themselves.
For 11 years — long past the time his sons quit JUSA and moved onto other things — Bednar has taken on the responsibility of maintaining the JUSA fields in Yorba Linda and Placentia.
Bednar has found his place tending to uneven grounds, dying grass or bare patches. “I figure I spend about 20 hours per week in the summer months,” he estimates, to get the fields ready by August when teams start to play.
JUSA serves about 4,500 youth on 34 fields in three cities, according to Bednar. He supervises a crew of about 80 volunteers who make sure fields are in playing order.
Bednar says he spent about $65,000 on the fields this year and has received support, guidance and appreciation from the school district where the fields are located. Hundreds of area school children are the beneficiaries.


Dick Bednar
Dick Bednar