Crowder College Foundation hosted its annual scholarship banquet Monday, October 9 at Sneller Gymnasium with nearly 700 donors, scholarship recipients, and guests in attendance. During the event, Scott Berry, a Neosho native and 1982 Crowder College graduate, received the prestigious 2017 Outstanding Alumnus Award.
Berry spent two years as a catcher for the Roughriders under former Head Coach Gary Roark. During his time behind the plate, he was a two-time all-region selection and named the team’s most valuable player as a sophomore before a back injury prematurely ended his playing career.
After graduating from Crowder, Berry continued his education at Southwest Missouri State University (now known as Missouri State) where he served as a student assistant for the Bears and earned a Master’s in Secondary Education with an emphasis in administration in 1989.
In 1991, he signed on as an assistant baseball coach at Meridian Community College in Meridian, Mississippi. After six seasons, Berry became head coach where he remained for four seasons and earned numerous coach of the year awards. He led Meridian to their first National Junior College World Series in 1998. His teams were ranked in the top 10 all four years he was at the helm. Additionally, he placed 25 players at Division 1 schools and coached nine professional players.
Berry then joined the coaching roster of the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Gold Eagles working in a number of roles including hitting coach, pitching coach, and associate head coach in 2010. In Berry’s first season as head coach, the Golden Eagles compiled a 36-24 record and won their first Conference USA tournament title since 2003 when they defeated nationally ranked Rice 7-4 in the championship game, a win that earned the program its eighth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Most recently, Southern Miss won three more games than any team has in program history with a season record of 50-16. It became the first club to earn one of the NCAA Tournament’s 16 No. 1 seeds, hosting a regional for only the second time ever. The Golden Eagles won 20 and their last 24 games, including a school record 14 straight to end the regular season. Berry’s team became the first in school history to win as many as 25 Conference USA games, winning the regular-season league title outright for the second time ever.
Scott is a three-time Region 23 Coach of the Year, three-time Louisville Slugger Coach of the Year Award recipient, and a two-time Diamond Sports ABCA Region Coach of the Year. In recognition of his service to Meridian Community College, Berry was inducted into the Mississippi Junior College Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
“I can think of no better recipient for this award than Scott. He is not only a tremendous athlete, he’s an outstanding man. His character embodies perseverance, courage, and tenacity. His resilience is unmatched,” commented Roark. “He came to Crowder as an outfielder, but I told him I was going to make a catcher out of him—a position he’d never played. He met the challenge for the good of the team. I knew then he had all the right characteristics to be successful in life.”
Berry and his wife, Laura, have two children, Garren and Kathryn (Kitty Grace). Laura received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Southern Miss in speech communication.