Former AMS coach dies

Published 12:02 am Saturday, June 22, 2013

Everybody knew him as “Tick,” but Louis Berry Sr. will be remembered as an extraordinary coach and athlete who loved sports.

Berry, 79, died of natural causes late Thursday night in his home in Montgomery.

Early Friday morning at around 2:30, Andalusia head basketball coach Richard Robertson received a phone call.

Robertson said when he heard the phone ring that it couldn’t have been good.

“I didn’t expect it to be him (who died),” the coach said.

Berry was a well-known figure in the Andalusia City School System.

Berry’s 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 Andalusia Middle School. Additionally, he coached other sports as well.

He coached the boys and girls basketball teams at Carver, Woodson and AMS, compiling a 250-72 record. He coached for teams who played for two state championships, but only won one title, Robertson said.

While he may have been known to many as a basketball coach, Berry was a decent baseball player, where he played until he was about 50 years old.

“One time, he was batting left-handed and hit the ball all the way to the right field fence,” Robertson said. “The outfielder almost threw him out. That’s when Louis decided that we was getting too old for the game.”

He played baseball at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. Berry was the first baseman.

“That was his sport,” Robertson said.

In the last two years, Berry was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s HOF.

Robertson nominated Berry for both honors.

“He was always fun-loving and he was a people person,” Robertson said.

Robertson said his nick name’s origin came from his aunts, who were named after states.

One such aunt was named Alabama Simmons.

“(Simmons) said he bashed his eyes and said he is just like one of those old clocks that goes tick-tock-tick-tock,” Robertson said.

Berry’s funeral is tentatively scheduled for this coming weekend, and will be held at AMS.