Record: 137-94, 5th Season as Head Coach/14th season overall
Scott Berry enters his fifth season as head coach and 14th season overall with the Golden Eagle baseball program.
Under his tutelage, the Golden Eagles won their second Conference USA regular season title last season, tying with Rice for the second time in the last three years. The program reached the C-USA title game for also the second time under his tutelage, dropping the contest to the Owls at Reckling Park in Houston. The Golden Eagles defeated Rice in the 2010 C-USA title matchup to send the squad to the postseason in Berry's first season.
Southern Miss finished 30-27 in 2013, upping its streak of 30-plus victories to 11-straight seasons.
With a young squad in 2012, the Golden Eagle squad went through growing pains during the year and the club managed to still capture 32 games during the campaign.
The development of youth was evident in the club as four players made Conference USA All-Freshman honors, including Freshman of the Year Mason Robbins, along with pitcher Jake Drehoff, infielder/outfielder Michael Sterling and pitcher/infielder Bradley Roney.
Southern Miss also boasted the league's Newcomer of the Year in Andrew Pierce. The junior college pitcher, Pierce, was also a first-team league selection, while Ashley Graeter earned second-team honors.
Berry led the program to its ninth-consecutive NCAA postseason in 2011 as the Golden Eagles captured a share of the Conference USA regular season title en route to posting a 39-19 mark and a berth in the 2011 NCAA Atlanta Regional. During the season, Berry captured his 50th career victory, a 5-4, 15-inning victory over Rhode Island in just his 77th career game, marking the quickest number of games for a Golden Eagle baseball coach to reach that plateau on his way to earning C-USA Coach of the Year honors.
The season produced many awards for Berry's squad, including the school's first recipient of the Ferriss Trophy to Tyler Koelling, awarded to the top collegiate baseball player in the state of Mississippi. Koelling was one of four Golden Eagles to earn First-Team All-Conference USA honors, along with Todd McInnis, Marc Bourgeois and B.A. Vollmuth. McInnis also garnered Pitcher of the Year honors from the league for the second time in his career.
Veteran reliever Collin Cargill, along with Adam Doleac, captured second-team honors, while Jared Bales earned league All-Freshman honors. In addition, Bales earned mention to two different Freshman All-America teams.
The Golden Eagles also excelled off the field as Bourgeois was named the program's first Academic All-American since 2009, earning first-team honors at designated hitter. He was named the C-USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the sport and also spearheaded a group of three players to make the league's All-Academic Team, which included McInnis and Doleac.
In Berry's first season at the helm of the program, he was able to continue the success that he helped build while he was an assistant. In 2010, the Golden Eagles compiled a 36-24 record and won its first Conference USA tournament title since 2003, when they defeated nationally ranked Rice 7-4 in the championship game and the program recorded its eighth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Golden Eagles boasted two All-Americans, pitcher Scott Copeland and shortstop B.A. Vollmuth, and the duo along with Todd McInnis and Collin Cargill were named first-team All-Conference USA.
His initial success as the top man in the program came on the heels of a magical season in 2009, in which Berry helped lead the program to its first ever Super Regional, beating Florida in Gainesville and eventual inaugural visit to the College World Series. The team finished with a No. 8 final ranking in three different polls.
Also in 2009, under Berry's direction, McInnis garnered the school's first major Conference USA postseason award as he was named the C-USA Pitcher of the Year. Mcinnis was 9-4 with a 3.73 ERA and 90 strikeouts compared to only 34 walks. Pitcher J.R. Ballinger was also taken in the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Chicago White Sox in the 11th round.
Prior to his appointment as the Golden Eagles' top man on May 7, 2009, Berry spent the previous six years as the associate head coach and three seasons prior to that as an assistant coach on the Southern Miss baseball staff.
Berry oversaw the Golden Eagles pitching staff worked with the catchers, had recruiting responsibilities while assisted with the program's camps and clinics. Prior to the 2003 season, he served as the team's hitting coach and worked with the team's catchers and outfielders.
Berry's most successful professional player, Cliff Lee, was honored after his eighth year in the major leagues with the 2008 AL Cy Young Award. Lee studied under Berry in 1999 and 2000 at Meridian Community College.
Southern Miss had an All-American pitcher for four-straight years from 2003-06, tying TCU for the second-longest streak in the nation and that is a credit to the job Berry has done.
In 2008, Berry guided two more All-American pitchers in Barry Bowden and Tyler Conn. Bowden was 8-3 with a 2.12 ERA and Conn led the nation with 18 saves and was the runner-up for the NCBWA's Stopper of the Year award. Both Bowden and Conn signed professionally after the season along with juniors Brian Leach and Josh Billeaud, giving the Golden Eagles four pitchers to move into the professional ranks at the season's conclusion.
In addition, McInnis earned Freshman All-American honors, the second time that Berry has coached a player to that honor.
Overall the Southern Miss pitching staff posted a 4.78 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .276 average. Throughout the season one of the main strengths was the Southern Miss bullpen that finished 19-3 with 20 saves on the season. In fact the bullpen was so dominate that the Golden Eagles were 38-1 when they were tied or had the lead after six innings.
In 2007, the Golden Eagle pitching staff posted a 3.79 ERA and had three pitchers with seven or more wins. Southern Miss pitchers fanned 416 batters and only walked 180 while opposing hitters hit .261. RHP Ryan Belanger earned All-Conference honors and J.R. Ballinger earned a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman team.
In 2006, he coached his fourth-straight closer to All-American honors as Daniel Best posted a 6-2 record with a 2.22 ERA and tied the school single-season record with 13 saves. Best also earned All-American distinction in 2005, when he recorded 11 saves with a 3-0 record and a 0.46 ERA. He was a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award in 2005 and was drafted in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft by Kansas City.
Two of Berry's pitchers, Ryan Belanger and Cliff Russum, registered eight wins in 2006 and the team's ERA improved from 5.13 in 2005 to 4.80 last season. Southern Miss struck out 416 batters and walked only 211. Catcher Kevin Coker earned All-Conference USA honors and senior Scott Massey also was drafted in the 24th round by Pittsburgh.
In 2005, Patrick Ezell, the Conference USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year, led the starters with seven wins against just three losses, while Matt Caire followed with a 6-3 record. Relief pitcher Tyler Perrett led the way with a 5-0 record in 24 appearances.
Catcher Brad Willcutt, one of the best to ever play behind the dish at Southern Miss, was selected as a third-team All-American as a senior and was drafted in the 27th round by Milwaukee.
In 2004, two of Berry's pitchers finished with eight or more wins and four finished with six or more wins. The staff posted 468 strikeouts and only 224 walks. Senior Austin Tubb was named to several All-American teams, the CoSIDA Academic All-American team and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. Senior Anthony DeWitt was named to the Conference USA second team and was drafted by the Houston Astros. Freshman Patrick Ezell was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, and fellow freshman Mike Cashion was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team as well as the C-USA All-Tournament team.
In his first year as the pitching coach in 2003, Berry worked with a staff that produced four hurlers with eight-or-more victories and a sparkling 3.45 ERA, the top in Conference USA. That staff recorded 460 strikeouts, walked just 219, and limited opponents to a .257 batting average. Austin Tubb was named to the NCBWA All-American team and Bob McCrory was named to the All-CUSA team.
When Berry mentored the Golden Eagle hitters, fans saw the batting average improve from .279 during the 2001 season to a .304 average in 2002. The Golden Eagles had seven players hit .300 or better and three players with 40 or more RBIs. And even with Berry working primarily in other areas, that hitting success carried over to the 2003 season when Southern Miss hitters compiled a .319 batting average, with eight players finishing at .300 or better. Golden Eagle hitters banged out 89 home runs and 142 doubles.
After completing an unbelievable four-year stint as the head coach at Meridian Community College from 1997-2000, including two trips to the National Junior College World Series, Berry rejoined his mentor, Corky Palmer, at Southern Miss prior to the 2001 season.
A native of Neosho, Mo., he compiled an impressive record of 185-58, including two seasons of 50 wins or more. During his four-year tenure at Meridian, Berry's squad spent the entire time in the top 10 of the national polls. He had over 25 players sign NCAA Division I scholarships and currently has nine former players in the professional ranks.
For his efforts, Berry was honored as 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 and twice named Diamond Sports ABCA Region Coach of the Year.
On January 24, 2010, MCC recognized Berry's accomplishments and retired his jersey number (40).
In 2000, Meridian finished fifth in the nation with a 46-19 record and took its second trip under Berry to the National Junior College World Series. The program made its first trip under Berry to the college world series in 1998, when they posted a 52-12 record and ended the season as the No. 5 team in the nation.
His first season, 1997, saw his squad ranked as the top team in the country from the preseason poll until the final regular season poll. That team posted a 50-8 record and advanced to the district finals before their season ended. Berry's first stint with Palmer started in 1991, when he was hired as an assistant coach at Meridian. After a six-year tenure as the assistant coach, he took over the reins of the Meridian program, when Palmer returned to Southern Miss to join Hill Denson's staff.
He completed his bachelor's degree in secondary education with an emphasis in physical education from Southwest Missouri State University in 1986 and also received his master's degree from SMSU in 1989 with a degree in secondary education with an emphasis in administration.
His collegiate career began at Crowder College, where he was a two-time all-region selection as a catcher and was named the team's most valuable player as a sophomore. Berry was forced to end his playing career early with a back injury. He spent the last two years of his undergraduate tenure as a student assistant at SMSU.
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 communication. He is the son of Marilyn Berry and the late James Berry of Neosho, Mo.