Todd Berry, a 31-year coaching veteran, is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Warhawk football Team. Berry, who served as the offensive coordinator from 2004-05, returned to Monroe in December 2009 when he was hired as the program’s 14th head coach.
Berry guided the Warhawks to bowl eligiblity for the second straight season in 2013 and it marked the first time in the FBS-era that ULM was bowl eligiblity in back-to-back seasons. The Warhawks picked up their first-ever win over an Atlantic Coast Conference school with a 21-19 win at Wake Forest.
Isaiah Newsome did something that just three other players in FBS history had accomplished before him as the safety returned to interceptions for scores, both of 70 or more yards, in the win at Texas State. Aside from Newsome, the only other players in FBS history to accomplish the rare feat were: USC's Charles Phillips vs. Iowa (1974; 98 yards, 83 yards), Virginia Tech's Ashley Lee vs. Vanderbilt (1983; 94 yards, 88 yards) and Cal Stat Fullerton's Tony Williams at San Jose State (1988; 92 yards, 86 yards). Newsome's big day earned him a total of 11 awards, three national, and a spot at No. 5 on ESPN Sportscenter's Top Plays.
At season's end, the Warhawks had a total of eight players earn All-Sun Belt Conference honors, including first-team honorees, Josh Allen, Justin Manton and Isaiah Newsome. In four seasons under Berry, the Warhawks have had 27 players named to the All-Sun Belt team.
Berry was honored as the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year after he guided the Warhawks to an FBS-era best eight wins. Kolton Browning was named the league’s offensive player of the year, while Brent Leonard highlighted a group of eight all-conference selections as he was tabbed first team all-conference.
Brent Leonard became the first Warhawk to have 80 receptions in a single season (with 104) and he finished his Warhawk career at the top of the receptions list with 209. Meanwhile, Kolton Browning became the new leader in career touchdown passes as he finished 2012 with 60 career TD passes. Browning also set new single season records in completions (273) and passing yards (3,049), while tying the single-year mark with 29 touchdown passes. In all, ULM set 45 new records over the course of the 2012 campaign
The Warhawks burst onto the national scene with a 34-31 overtime win over then-No. 8 Arkansas. ULM trailed 28-7 in the third quarter before it rallied for the win and garnered Tostitos National Team of the Week honors. Upcoming opponents also took note of the Warhawks’ upset win, including Auburn cornerback T’Sharvan Bell. “We’re going to face America’s favorite team right now, this week,” Bell stated during game week.
The Warhawks continued to have the eyes of the country on them with close losses at Auburn and against Baylor. ULM opened the conference season 4-0 to improve to 6-2 overall and reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009. ULM’s historic season culminated with its first-ever bowl game as the Warhawks battled the Ohio Bobcats in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., on Dec. 28, 2012.
In 2011, Berry tutored sophomore quarterback Kolton Browning to another record-setting season for the Warhawks in 2011. Browning finished just 39 yards shy of the school record for total offense with 2,926 yards. Browning set new single-season records for completions (244) and plays (554).
ULM landed six players on the All-Sun Belt team following the 2011 campaign, including first-team selections Ken Dorsey and Darius Prelow.
In his first season in charge of the program, Berry led a team that saw 17 freshmen and sophomores start games and featured 23 freshmen and sophomores on the offensive and defensive depth chart. Berry’s Warhawks faced one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation; ULM faced Auburn (BCS National Champion), Arkansas (Sugar Bowl) and LSU (Cotton Bowl). ULM fell just short in its bid for the program’s first-ever bowl appearance.
One of nine head coaches in the NCAA to also coach an individual position, Berry made the difficult decision to give the reigns of the offense to redshirt freshman Kolton Browning. The decision paid off. Under Berry’s guidance, Browning was named the Louisiana Freshman of the Year in addition to earning Freshman All-America honors from College Football News. Browning finished third in the NCAA among all freshmen after averaging 247.4 yards of total offense per game in addition to tying the ULM records for touchdown passes in a game (5) and consecutive 200-yard passing games (8). Browning led the Sun Belt with a 61.9 completion percentage and tallied the second most yards of total offense in ULM history (2,937).
Defensive end Ken Dorsey, safety Darius Prelow, wide receiver Luther Ambrose, linebacker Cameron Blakes and Browning were all named All-Sun Belt in Berry’s first season.
Berry’s first season at the helm of the Warhawks included a 28-14 victory over Troy. The Warhawks held the Trojans to their lowest offensive output in a Sun Belt game since 2006 as they snapped the Trojans 13-game Sun Belt win streak.
He was reappointed to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees in 2010 and he will serve as the third vice president during the 2013 season. The Board, which consists of 18 head coaches, formulates policy and provides direction for the organization, which was founded in 1922 by Amos Alonzo Stagg, John Heisman and others. The AFCA has more than 11,000 members from all levels of the profession.
Berry was ULM’s offensive coordinator from 2004-05, where he helped guide the Warhawks to the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Championship and quarterback Steven Jyles to Sun Belt Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Berry has diligently displayed a “championship” mentality and approach he has infused into his players, staff, administrators and supporters, all with an eye for competing for a Sun Belt Conference championship as soon as possible.
In fact it was that same mentality that Berry used to resurrect 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. Prior to Berry’s arrival the squad 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 had 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.
During a three-year tenure as the offensive coordinator at UNLV, Berry developed the top quarterback duo in the Mountain West Conference with record-setters Omar Clayton and Mike Clausen. The pair combined to throw for 2,693 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2009. Clayton is UNLV’s career leader in completion percentage and is the only player in Rebel history to have thrown for over 300 yards and rushed for over 100 yards in a game.
Clausen set a UNLV freshman record with 119 consecutive pass attempts without an interception in 2008 - a mark that fell just 19 attempts short of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision record. Clayton threw 18 touchdown passes in 2008 - the fourth most in UNLV history and most since 1996 - and set the UNLV school record by attempting 173 passes without an interception. The duo combined for just six interceptions during the 2008 season to tie the school record.
Despite coaching in Nevada, Berry continued to recruit two areas that ULM relies heavily on every year - Florida and Texas. ULM had 27 players on its roster this past season from those two states.
Berry split his stints at ULM and UNLV with one season as the quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami in 2006.
His first stop in Monroe followed a four-year run, 2000-03, as the head coach at Army. Berry’s teams set 25 Academy records during his tenure and he is the last Army coach to defeat Navy (26-17, 2001). He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Football Coaches Association from 2001-03.
His tenure at Army followed a four-year stint at Illinois State (1996-99) where Berry presided over one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) history. The team had not won a conference title since 1950, but under Berry the Redbirds advanced to the NCAA FCS Playoffs in his third season and finished in FCS top 20.
The following year, ISU became just the third team to run through its Gateway Conference schedule unblemished and advanced to the FCS semifinals. Berry was a semifinalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in both 1998 and 1999.
Under Berry’s direction, Illinois State established or equaled 100 individual and team records on a game, season, and career levels. The Redbirds were listed in the top 25 ranking for 19 consecutive weeks. In addition his players captured 73 postseason awards including four Academic All-America citations and six All-America certificates.
Before arriving at ISU, Berry spent four seasons 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 1994 and 1995.
A 1983 graduate of the University of Tulsa, Berry has worked for some well-known head coaches during his accent, holding down assistant positions on the staffs of Logan at East Carolina, John Cooper at the University of Tulsa, and Johnny Majors at the University of Tennessee.
While in high school, Berry was an all-state selection at football (quarterback) and track and field at Miami (Okla.) High School. At Tulsa, he played quarterback for the Golden Hurricane from 1979 to 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 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 years 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 the offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee-Martin, holding 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 with at Southeast Missouri State University, as offensive coordinator, before joining Logan’s staff at ECU.
Berry is the son of the late Reuben Berry, a former Canadian Football League head coach and longtime mentor Saskatchewan Rough Riders. Berry is married to the former Lisa Grimes and the couple has two daughters, Jordan (27) and Ryleigh (12).
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