MIAMI — In basketball terms, Todd Berry might be considered the point guard for football on all levels in the United States.
Berry, who will join Sara Singer Harms in the third class of inductees into the Miami Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday, has been executive director of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) since 2016.
“It’s hard to describe my job because I am on like 17 different NCAA and NFL committees,” Berry said.
Through his job, Berry is involved with football on all levels, from USA Football (the national governing body for amateur football), the National Federation of State High School Associations, colleges and the NFL and CFL.
Berry and Harms will be inducted during a luncheon Saturday that is part of the annual all-school reunion.
The 11:30 a.m. luncheon will be at the Coleman Theatre ballroom.
Steve Owens and Millie George Gillian were the first inductees and Tinker Owens and Matt Monger were added last year.
“It’s very humbling,” Berry said of joining the MHS hall. “You have a Heisman Trophy winner, three NFL players — they kinda scraped the bottom of the barrel from a male standpoint with me.”
Berry admits he’s not familiar with Harms, “but her bio is very impressive.”
“The best athlete out of all of us — the rest I have all seen or played with — is Millie George. She is the best athlete out of all of us, I promise you.
“Steve kinda set a high bar for all of us because he’s got a street named after him. And a statue.”
Berry, a 1979 MHS graduate, competed in football and track.
While playing for L.D. Baines, Berry was the player of the year in the Six Lakes Conference and earned all-state honors in 1978.
He was a three-time state qualifier in track.
“I feel very fortunate. I had some great coaches. I had some great teachers,” Berry said. “I was tremendously well prepared academically to go to Tulsa, which is not a place where you can walk in, just because the competition in the classroom is so difficult. I felt very fortunate to have that background.”
Berry went on to play three seasons at TU, only to have an injury end his career.
He graduated with a degree in business marketing in 1983.
Berry had not planned on going into coaching despite the fact that his father, Rube, was a longtime coach on the high school, junior college (serving a stint as NEO head coach) and professional levels.
The injury changed his mind about his career path.
“What I thought was the worst day of my life when my doctor told me I couldn't play any more, probably ended up being the best day of my life because it made me see how much athletics had an impact on my life,” Berry said.
His first job was at Tennessee, where he was a graduate assistant and tight ends coach under Johnny Majors.
Berry also was a GA at Tulsa and Oklahoma State before being named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tennessee-Martin in 1986.
He also was an assistant at Mississippi State, Southeast Missouri State and East Carolina.
Berry’s first head coaching job was at Illinois State, then served stints at Army and Louisiana-Monroe
“I had a great career — 34 years. That’s a long time in this profession,” Berry said. “I had three head jobs. That doesn’t happen very often in our profession. I knew I probably only had maybe 10 years worth of coaching left in me in terms of it actually being my job rather than it just being fun.
“When the job opened up, it was one of those things that I had aspired to. I felt it was time to understand I was in the fourth quarter, in the red zone, and if I was going to make any impact on the game, it would be in this role.”
Originally named to the AFCA Board of Trustees in 2001, he became the organization’s fifth executive director, succeeding Grant Teaff.
He and wife, Lisa, try to get back to northeast Oklahoma several times a year.
“There’s not a time I get back that I don't drive by NEO and the stadium and then the high school,” Berry said. “I always do that. It’s kinda one of those things that I feel compelled to do and quite honestly, I feel very glad that I feel that way about it. I had a tremendous experience there and am very appreciative of the opportunity quite honestly that my academics and athletic opportunities presented to me for the remainder of my life.”
Berry, who made a donation that helped with a major renovation of the high school weight room, is appreciative of the fact that athletic director Chad Davis has got a lot of the alumni engaged with the MHS football/athletic program.