Chris Berry switched playing diamonds at McLennan in June, becoming the Highlassies’ head softball coach following a very successful four-year stint as an assistant coach for the Highlander Baseball squad, highlighted by a pair of conference championships, a pair of regional championships, and a pair of trips to the JUCO World Series.
In 2015, Berry’s first season with the Highlanders, the squad finished fourth in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference (NTJCAC) and claimed the Region V Championship to earn the program’s first JUCO World Series berth since 1983. The Highlanders continued to excel in Grand Junction, finishing as the runners-up and ending the season with an overall record of 41-20. In Berry’s second season, the Highlanders claimed the conference championship and a regional tournament berth with an overall record of 45-12.
The Highlanders dominated the 2017 season, recording a 26-6 conference record to claim another NTJCAC Championship. They went on to win the Region V Tournament, punching their ticket to the JUCO World Series. The team was undefeated in the month of April and spent a week ranked first in the NJCAA Division I Poll. The Highlanders went 1-2 in the World Series and finished fifth in the nation with a 52-13 record. Success continued for the Highlanders in 2018 as the team finished second in conference play and advanced to the championship round of the regional tournament, ending the season with an overall record of 44-15.
In addition to the Highlanders’ team success during Berry’s tenure with the squad, many of the players have garnered individual accolades as well. Josh Breaux and Grant Miller were named NJCAA All-Americans in 2018 with Breaux landing on the third team and Miller receiving honorable mention. The Highlanders also excelled in the classroom with 40 players claiming NJCAA All-Academic Student Athlete Awards. Brock Morrison, Breaux and Logan Freeman were also named to CoSIDA’s Google Cloud Academic All-District® Team. Six Highlanders were drafted by Major League Baseball teams during Berry’s time with the Highlanders, and several others signed free-agent contracts.
Before joining the McLennan staff, Berry spent a year as an assistant at Florida Gulf Coast University working with the pitchers. His career includes stints as an assistant at Ohio, Baylor, Arkansas State and Sam Houston State. During his time with these teams, they made a combined eight appearances in the NCAA Regionals since 2000. Berry helped lead Baylor to the NCAA Super Regional in 2003 and 2005 and to the College World Series in 2005. He began his career as a graduate assistant at Rockford College before becoming an assistant coach at Young Harris College. He also has experience in the professional ranks, working as an assistant to the director of stadium operations for the Rockford (Illinois) Cubbies, the Class-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. In addition, he served as an administrative assistant for the Bluefield (Virginia) Orioles.
Berry received his bachelor's degree in recreational administration from Bluefield College in Virginia, where he was an Academic All-League pitcher. He and his wife, Connie, have two children, Kennedy and Jackson.
2018-present: Head softball coach, McLennan Community College
2014-2018: Assistant baseball coach, McLennan Community College
2013-14: Pitching coach, Florida Gulf Coast University
2012-13: Assistant coach, Ohio University
2011-12: Co-director, Baylor Baseball Academy
2007-11: Pitching coach, Sam Houston State University
2006-07: Recruiting coordinator/assistant coach, Arkansas State University
1999-2006: Assistant coach/pitching coach, Baylor University
1998-99: Assistant coach/infield coach, Young Harris College
1997-98: Assistant coach, Rockford College
1994-97: Bluefield College
1997: Bachelor’s in physical education with emphasis in recreation administration, Bluefield College