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Longtime Huntsville coach Berry to be inducted into national hall of fame

by Chip Souza | May 30, 2021 at 2:03 a.m.
Longtime Huntsville girls basketball coach Charles Berry directs his team Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, from the bench during the Lady Eagles' win over Lincoln in Lincoln. Berry, who won 1,377 games over a 57-year coaching career, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on July 1 in Orlando, Fla. (Andy Shupe NWA Democrat-Gazette)

Charles Berry did not become a high school coach with the idea of reaching a hall of fame, but when his 57-year career ended, there was no doubt he'd achieve that kind of status.

Berry, the longtime basketball coach at Huntsville High School, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on July 1 in Orlando, Fla. He will be just the 10th Arkansan to earn a place in the Hall of Fame and the first since Morgan Gilbert in 2014.

Berry was supposed to have been inducted in 2020, but the ceremony in Denver was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled for this year.

The National High School Hall of Fame was created in 1982 and originally called the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. It was created to honor high school athletes, coaches and others for outstanding achievements in high school sports. The name was changed in 2003.

There are more than 450 individuals in the Hall of Fame, including Arkansas legends Sidney Moncrief and Don Kessinger.

Berry won 1,377 games as a boys and girls basketball coach at Hector, Plummerville and Huntsville, where he spent 50 years patrolling the sideline. His win-loss mark of 1,377-691 includes two state championships and two state runner-up finishes.

Berry likes to joke, "I had a lot of losses, too. More losses than most people win."

Ken Harriman, who was the football coach at Huntsville for many years when Berry also was the athletic director, later returned to the school as the athletic director and Berry worked for him.

Harriman said Berry was more than a basketball coach, relishing his role as a geometry teacher.

"I don't know of anybody at any age who enjoyed coaching and teaching more than Charles H. Berry," said Harriman, who recently retired as the athletic director at Siloam Springs. "He just loved it. It was literally a huge part of his life. And everything that he had went toward coaching and teaching.

"There were times when Charlie talked about maybe giving up the coaching and just teaching. He loved teaching kids, whether it was geometry or whatever it was. He was an excellent teacher."

Berry deflected praise to his former players, both boys and girls, who had a big role in his career. He started in 1968 and ended it in 2016. He was both a boys and girls coach until 1988, when he shifted his focus to coaching just the girls teams at Huntsville.

One of his most memorable seasons came in 1983 when his daughter Liz helped the Lady Eagles advance to the state championship game.

"We had a flock of good players," Berry said. "This is a great honor, something I never expected. I didn't even know I'd been nominated.

"Sometimes it's not your actions, it's the people that you know. I know there are a lot of people more deserving than I am."

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE
Longtime Huntsville girls basketball coach Charles Berry, who spent 50 seasons coaching the Huntsville High School girls and boys teams, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on July 1 in Orlando, Fla. Berry won 1,377 games over his 57-year coaching career.
(Andy Shupe NWA Democrat-Gazette)
NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Longtime Huntsville girls basketball coach Charles Berry, who spent 50 seasons coaching the Huntsville High School girls and boys teams, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on July 1 in Orlando, Fla. Berry won 1,377 games over his 57-year coaching career. (Andy Shupe NWA Democrat-Gazette)
Charles Berry, shown in his Geometry classroom at Huntsville High School in 2009, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on July 1 in Orlando, Fla. Over a 57-year coaching career, Berry won 1,377 games and two state championships.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MICHAEL WOODS
Charles Berry, shown in his Geometry classroom at Huntsville High School in 2009, will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on July 1 in Orlando, Fla. Over a 57-year coaching career, Berry won 1,377 games and two state championships. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MICHAEL WOODS
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Best of the Best

National High School Hall of Fame

Arkansas Inductees

Name;Year

Don Kessinger;1987

Sidney Moncrief;1992

Earl Quigley;1997

Bill Mayo;1998

Oliver Elders;1999

Keith Jackson;2001

Jerry Hall;2005

Kevin McReynolds;2011

Morgan Gilbert;2014

Charles Berry;2021

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