University of Southern Mississippi head baseball coach Scott Berry - one of the most successful junior college diamond coaches in the annals of the Magnolia State - will be inducted into the Mississippi Junior College Sports Hall of Fame on the evening of April 29 in ceremonies at the Muse Center.
Berry served as head coach at Meridian Community College from 1997-2001 and compiled a gaudy 185-58 record while guiding the Eagles to multiple JUCO World Series appearances. He was nominated for the award by MCC President Dr. Scott Elliott.
“Scott Berry is richly deserving of this honor,” Elliott said. “His record at MCC speaks for itself, but there is so much more to Scott Berry than wins and losses. He is not only a top-flight baseball coach, but, more important, a man of impeccable character who serves as the consummate role model for his players. He represented MCC in outstanding fashion, on and off the field, during his tenure here as an assistant and head baseball coach. Unto this day, we are proud to claim Coach Berry as part of the MCC family. His continued success at the highest levels of college baseball has continued to bring honor not only to himself but also to MCC.”
Following a highly successful six-year tenure as an assistant coach at MCC under the legendary Corky Palmer, Berry took over the Eagle reins in 1997 and won 76 percent of his games. Two of his Eagle teams qualified for the NJCAA Division I World Series in Grand Junction, Co. Berry’s teams never finished out of the Top 10 NJCAA poll, as over 25 of his players earned NCAA Division I scholarships.
Berry was named Region 23, District, and Louisville Slugger “Coach of the Year” three times and was also honored as the Diamond ABCA Region “Coach of the Year” on two occasions. Two of Berry’s Eagle teams won more than 50 games, including his 1997 squad which was ranked No. 1 in the nation during the regular season and ultimately finished with a 50-8 record.
Nine of Berry’s Eagles played professionally, including 2008 Cy Young Award winning pitcher Cliff Lee. Berry’s jersey number (40) was retired by MCC in 2010. Following his stellar stint in Meridian, Berry went on to become Palmer’s top assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi and helped lead the Golden Eagles to their first-ever Super Regional title and appearance in the NCAA College World Series.
Heading into the 2014 season, Berry has served as head coach at USM for five years, amassing a 137-94 record, including two regular season Conference USA championships and one conference tournament title. In 2011, Berry was named Conference USA “Coach of the Year.” He and his wife, Laura, are the proud parents of a son, Garren, and a daughter, Kathryn.
Past MCC honorees in the Hall are Lou Weddington Hart and Robert Dreyfus (golf); Billy Harold Smith, Cliff Lee, Jason Smith, Paul Phillips and Corky Palmer (baseball); Ronald “Flip” Murray (basketball), Jim Redgate (basketball and golf); and Wanda McPhail (tennis).