Neosho native and 1982 Crowder College alum Scott Berry has been named the 2017 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. 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 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 I schools and coached nine future professional players.
Berry then joined the coaching roster of the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Golden Eagles working in a number of roles, including hitting coach, pitching coach, and associate head coach prior to becoming 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 of 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 District 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 degrees from Southern Miss in speech communicatio
2017: Scott Berry, Class of 1972
2016: Larry Neff, Class of 1968
2015: Kevin Goodwin, Class of 1982
2014: Dell Reed Family: Louise (Effie), Larry, Michael, Gary, Brad. All graduated from CC except for Michael who attended one year and joined the Marines. Dell Reed was president of Crowder College from 1968-1985.
2013: Marla Looper, Class of 1992. Roughrider softball player, pitcher. Head women’s softball coach at the University of Iowa.
2012: Mark Armstrong, Class of 1975. AS at CC and BS in Economics and Finance from MSSC. Branch Manager of US Bank in Pineville, MO.
2011: Ron Johnson, Class of 1981. Owner of The Thicket in Springfield, MO. CC AS degree, and BS in Horticulture at MSU.
2010: Danny Lambeth, Class of 1981. Roughrider Baseball Player, CC associate degree, graduate of University of Arkansas, BS in Business Administration. VP of H.E. Williams in Carthage, MO.
2009: Randy Bartley, Class of 1976, at the time of recognition, Randy was the Director of Homeland Security, Defense & Emergency Management Programs for General Physics Corporation.
2008: Dr. Wayne Paul, Class of 1967. Associate of Science from CC. PH.D. from MU-Kansas City, 1979. Licensed Psychologist
2007: Charles Nodler -1973 – Associate Professor and Archivist at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, MO.
2006: Laurie Hildebrand-Delano – Class of 1975- Assistant Secretary/Treasurer of Empire District Electric of Joplin
2005: Debra Underwood – 1976 AA, CPA. Has Underwood and Associates accounting firm, Neosho. On Foundation Board 1993-2001. Always supportive.
2003: Four Outstanding Alumnus of the Decade Awards were presented to:
1960s Decade: Marna Jo (Pratt) Young, Class of 1966 – Researcher/Librarian/College Teacher/Entrepreneur
1970s Decade: Cliff Wagner, Class of 1976 – Entertainer, Branson, Missouri
1980s Decade: Alma Stipp, Class of 1982 – Elementary School Principal
1990s Decade: Richard Asbill, Class of 1992 – Superintendent of Schools
2002: Dr. Charles McGinty – Dentist in Joplin, Mo. – Class of 1970
2001: James L. Armstrong, president of Arvest-McDonald County Banks, with a history of success in his career in banking, accounting, and insurance, as well as in community and college service. Class of 1966.
2000: Michael Spurgeon – 1984 – City Administrator/General Manager of Public Utilities, Miami, Okla.
1999: J. Joel Smith – 1985 – Nuclear Engineer with Dept. of Energy, Washington DC. BS and MS Univ. of MO-Rolla.
1998: Ramona Kruse Munsell – 1972 AA with Honors. Was Dean of Development, Ft. Scott CC and also president of her own consulting company. MA plus graduate work. Now owns Munsell & Associates, a grant-writing and consultant business, serving over 55 colleges around the country. She was Crowder’s consultant and grant writer for its last two Title III grants and served as Title III Coordinator (part-time) during the last four-year grant (1993-1997). It was mainly through her work and expertise that we received over $1.3 million in Title III funds for several major activities on campus. She has established and regularly contributes to a scholarship fund at Crowder.
1997: Dr. John Baldwin – 1980 AA; BS – Univ. of Ark.; MS, PhD – Mississippi State U in Plant Pathology. Field Development Representative for AGREVO USA Co., Chatham, Illinois. Recently selected for Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. Co. Former Extension agent in Arkansas. Originally from Goodman.
1996: Dennis Rainey – 1968 AA – Executive Director, Family Life, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ. National syndicated radio host, speaker, author. Was president of student body at Crowder, Roughrider Award, J.T. Payne Award, basketball and baseball, PTK. From Ozark, Mo., originally. Now in Little Rock area. Spoke at Promise Keepers rally in Oct. 1995. Author of “Pulling Weeds, Planting Seeds,” “The Tribute,” “Building your Mate’s Self-Esteem” and others. Graduate of Univ. of Ark. and Dallas Theological Seminary.
1995: Veda Boyd Jones – 1968 AA – Freelance writer, Joplin. Several books published and children’s stories. Has taught creative writing at Crowder. BS, PSU & MS, Univ. of Ark. 1993 Best Juvenile Story and Best Adult Fiction story from Mo. Writers’ Guild.
1994: Richard (Rick) Davidson – 1968 AA – President of Sunbeam, Neosho. (1997-now president of O’Sullivan Industries, Lamar)
1993: Emery Styron – 1970 AA – Past-Publisher of Newton Co. News. Was very active in Granby community. Lions Club, Old Mining Town Days Steering Committee. Managing editor in Harrisonville, Mo (1993); Publisher of Mt. Pleasant News, Iowa (1998)
1992: Gary Sanny – 1967 AA – Farmer/Owner, Feed Store & More, Anderson
1991: Sharon Hall Huey – Bank Sr. VP – Omaha, NE, Class of 1970 (Currently – 1998 – Senior VP of Commercial State Bank, Bonner Springs, KS.)
Also a special award to Dan Eberle for solar car work, Class of 1973
1990: Jon McGrath – McGrath Construction, Oklahoma, Class of 1980
1989: David Sallee, College Administrator, Class of 1971
1988: Bob Burrows, Burrows 3 – Illustrator, Shawnee Mission, KS, Class of 1966
1987: Ray Stipp – President, Community Bank and Trust, Class of 1967
1986: Chris Kalmbach, Successful Electronics Business, member of Solar Car Team, Class of 1972. (Currently co-owner of Steven Christopher Jewelers, Neosho)