Former coach selected for HOF

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2011

When Louis Edward Berry Sr. left Andalusia to retire in Montgomery, he never thought he‘d be considered as an inductee in the 2011 Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame.

Berry spent 32 years as a coach in the Andalusia School System before retiring in the late 1990s from Andalusia Middle School.

“It is something that never did cross my mind,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about it. (AHS) Coach (Richard) Robertson had mentioned it to my daughter (Jaqueline Berry Moore).”

The surprise was that Moore was going to introduce Berry at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this Saturday night. However, Moore passed away last December.

“It was going to be a surprise,” Berry said.

His first coaching job came at George Washington Carver Junior High School in Florala, and from there, he coached and taught at Ralph Bunche Junior High School in Andalusia and at Carter G. Woodson High School before finishing at AMS.

It was at Woodson where he coached with Robertson, who would help in his coaching duties.

“The two of us coached everything,” Berry said.

Berry coached the boys and girls basketball teams at Carver, Woodson and AMS, and compiled a 250-72 record. He coached other sports as well.

Throughout his illustrious career, Berry received numerous awards for his dedicated service at the schools he taught and coached.

Robertson, who is on the selection committee, and former ACS principal Mary Lynn Stone wrote letters requesting Berry be nominated.

“He was kind of our mentor,” Robertson said. “We just wanted to honor him for his years of service.”

Berry said Stone wrote in her letter that he made the transition for integration smooth for all schools in the system.

“‘Coach Berry made a difference’,” Stone wrote in a letter Berry read. “‘Coach Berry was instrumental of making our school racially friendly in an environment that could’ve been otherwise.’ ”

He will be inducted into the Wiregrass Hall of Fame this Sat., July 16, at the Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center on Ross Clark Circle in Dothan.

The ceremony begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $50 per person.

Berry and his wife, Susie, have two other children, a son, Louis Edward Berry Jr., and a daughter, Ashley Berry.