Chris Berry | Assistant Coach
Chris Berry became an assistant coach for the Highlanders’ baseball program in 2014. In his first season with the Highlanders, he helped lead the team to a fourth-place conference finish and a Region V Championship to earn the program’s first JUCO World Series berth since 1983. The Highlanders continued to excel in Grand Junction, finishing as the runners-up and ending the season with an overall record of 41-20. Two Highlander pitchers from the 2015 squad moved on to professional careers Nathan Bertness was drafted in the 18th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Jack Finnegan signed a free agent contract with Milwaukee Brewers.
In his second season, the Highlanders claimed the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Championship and a regional tournament berth with an overall record of 45-12.
Prior to joining the McLennan staff, Berry spent a year as an assistant at Florida Gulf Coast University working with the pitchers, who ended the season with a combined ERA of 3.32 with 421 strikeouts and 164 walks. The team included All-American Michael Murray, the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year and semifinalist for the Golden Spikes award.
Berry’s career includes stints as an assistant at Ohio, Baylor, Arkansas State and Sam Houston State. During his time with these teams, they made a combined eight appearances in the NCAA Regionals since 2000. Berry helped lead Baylor to the NCAA Super Regional in 2003 and 2005 and to the College World Series in 2005.
He began his career as a graduate assistant at Rockford College before becoming an assistant coach at Young Harris College. Berry joined the Baylor coaching staff as volunteer assistant coach in 1999.
In his seven seasons at Baylor, he helped build a highly decorated pitching staff. The 2005 staff tossed a 3.23 ERA (12th in the nation) in 633.1 innings pitched while piling up a 46-24 record, allowing only 227 earned runs. The bullpen collected 19 saves, 11 of which came from the Bears’ 10-game winner that season, Abe Woody. Berry helped guide three pitchers beyond 100 innings that season and saw opponents hit just 0.234 against his staff. Baylor was one of the last four teams standing in the CWS but ultimately fell to eventual national champion Texas.
In 2006, the Bears’ staff won 37 games, collected 18 saves and compiled a 4.13 staff ERA as Baylor finished the season ranked 26th nationally by Collegiate Baseball after advancing to the NCAA Regionals. During his time at Baylor, Berry coached 25 pitchers who were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including two first-round picks.
Berry moved on to Arkansas State for the start of the 2007 season. As the recruiting coordinator/pitching coach, Berry signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the Sun Belt Conference and the No. 45 class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball. He also coached T.J. Brewer, who would go on to lead the Sun Belt in ERA during his one season with ASU.
In 2007, Berry was named the pitching coach at Sam Houston State, where he went on to serve for four seasons, helping the Bearkats to back-to-back Southland Conference Tournament titles and subsequently the NCAA Regionals. During his time at SHSU, Berry coached three players who were selected in the MLB Draft and coached or recruited three more that went on to be drafted following his departure.
In total, Berry has coached or recruited 37 players selected in the MLB Draft.
He also has experience in the professional ranks, working as an assistant to the director of stadium operations for the Rockford (Illinois) Cubbies, the Class-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. In addition, he served as an administrative assistant for the Bluefield (Virginia) Orioles.
Berry received his bachelor's degree in recreational administration from Bluefield College in Virginia, where he was an Academic All-League pitcher. He and his wife, Connie, have two children, Kennedy and Jackson.
2014-present: Assistant coach, McLennan Community College
2013-14: Pitching coach, Florida Gulf Coast University
2012-13: Assistant coach, Ohio University
2011-12: Co-director, Baylor Baseball Academy
2007-11: Pitching coach, Sam Houston State University
2006-07: Recruiting coordinator/assistant coach, Arkansas State University
1999-2006: Volunteer assistant coach/pitching coach, Baylor University
1998-99: Assistant coach/infield coach, Young Harris College
1997-98: Assistant coach, Rockford College
1994-97: Bluefield College
1997: Bachelor’s in physical education with emphasis in recreation administration, Bluefield College