Todd Berry
Todd Berry

When Todd Berry arrived at West Point in December 1999, he immediately set out to reverse the Black Knights' football fortunes.

In Berry's first three seasons, the Black Knights set or tied 25 team or individual records on game, season and career levels. But, after an 0-6 start to the 2003 campaign, his fourth at the Academy, West Point officials terminated his contract (effective Oct. 13, 2003).

The Black Knights were 5-35 during Berry's stint along the Army sideline.

Prior to arriving at West Point, Berry had resurrected the Illinois State's football program. The day he was named the Redbirds' head football coach in 1996, he began talking about ISU teams playing for national championships. This for an institution that had experienced little success on the gridiron and had been on the verge of dropping the sport due to its checkered past. Just four years later, Berry completed one of the most amazing turnarounds in Division I-AA history, guiding his revamped Illinois State program all the way to the national semifinals in 1999.

Credited with constructing a championship football program at Illinois State from the ground level, Berry guided the Redbirds to the best record in school history and the semifinals of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in 1999. Illinois State closed the year at 11-3, falling to Georgia Southern 28-17. Berry directed ISU to a flashy 19-7 record (.731) in his final two seasons.

A two-time Gateway Conference Coach of the Year honoree, and the 1999 GTE Region 4 Coach of the Year, Berry directed Illinois State to its first-ever Gateway Conference title in 1999, the school's first outright league crown of any kind since 1950. On the heels of a 3-8 record in 1996 and a 2-9 mark in 1997, Berry presided over one of the finest turnarounds in Division I-AA history in 1998, guiding the Redbirds to an 8-4 record, their first-ever trip to the postseason playoffs and a national ranking at year's end. He was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, presented annually to the top collegiate head coach at the Division I-AA level, each of his last two years.

Under Berry's direction, Illinois State established or equaled more than 100 individual and team school records on game, season and career levels. The Redbirds were listed in the top 25 national rankings for 19 consecutive weeks. In addition, his players captured 73 individual postseason awards, including four Academic All-America citations and six All-America certificates.

Berry was named head coach at Illinois State on Dec. 18, 1995. His emergence came as Illinois State sought someone with a passion for recruiting, outstanding communication skills and a consistent offensive and defensive scheme. The native of Miami, Okla., carried all of those qualities to Normal, Ill., quickly building a reputation as one of the hottest coaching talents in the country. A dynamic recruiter off the field, Berry's ISU teams featured a high-scoring offensive system that energized both players and fans alike.

Prior to arriving at ISU, Berry spent four years as offensive coordinator at East Carolina University under head coach Steve Logan. He played a vital role on the Pirate teams that reached the Liberty Bowl in both 1994 and 1995.

A 1983 graduate of the University of Tulsa, Berry has worked for some well-known head coaches during his ascent, holding down assistant positions on the staffs of Logan at East Carolina, John Cooper at Tulsa and Johnny Majors at the University of Tennessee.

While in high school, Berry was an all-state selection in football (quarterback) and track and field at Miami (Okla.) High School. At Tulsa, he played quarterback for the Golden Hurricane from 1979 through 1981 before suffering a career-ending knee injury.

"Coming out of high school, football was significant to me, but I also wanted to attend a school that possessed a good mix of academics--that was the reason why I was going to college, first and foremost. I turned down some more traditional `Top 10 football' programs in order to attend a school with a nice blend of academics and athletics."

Berry began his coaching career as an undergraduate at Tulsa with Cooper before moving to Tennessee as a graduate assistant and tight ends coach in 1983 when the Volunteers advanced to the Florida Citrus Bowl at year's end.

Following a one-year return to his alma mater as receivers coach in 1984, Berry headed to Oklahoma State University in 1985, where he worked with the likes of future National Football League standout Thurman Thomas. He then served a three-year stint as offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee-Martin, holding down that position from 1986 through 1988.

While at UT-Martin, Berry coached the Pacers to a top-five finish in Division II passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. In his final season, all four receivers, the running back and quarterback signed professional contracts.

He also enjoyed a two-year tour at Mississippi State University, coaching wide receivers, and one campaign at Southeast Missouri State University, as offensive coordinator, before joining Logan's staff at ECU.

He is the son of the late Reuben Berry, a former Canadian Football League head coach and longtime mentor of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

The 42-year old Berry and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters: Jordan, 17, and Ryleigh, 1.

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