From Harding University
Harding University athletics director Greg Harnden announced the hiring of Phil Berry as Harding women's softball coach Friday.
Berry, a native of Woodstock, Ga., and Harding graduate, will restart the Lady Bison softball program, which was canceled in 1985 after a five-year run due to a lack of collegiate competition. He will begin immediately and will be on campus beginning in January.
The softball program will officially begin in the 2013-14 school year.
"The opportunity to come back to Harding and pick this program up from the ground and restart it is very exciting. I can't wait to get here," Berry said. "I'm excited to get out and start talking to potential recruits who would want to come to Harding and play softball and show them what we have to offer in this community.
"We believe the softball program at Harding is going to be a faithful family. That is what we are going to principal the program around, and we can't wait to have them come to this university and honor God, honor their family, honor their softball team, and honor this university as they have the opportunity to create a brand new program."
Berry was instrumental in developing the Atlanta Vipers Fastpitch Club and has served as a head coach, member of the advisory board and chairman. He has compiled a 681-276-21 record as a travel ball coach and has five top-25 national finishes. His current team, Atlanta Vipers (Berry) 18-Gold, has 13 players committed to play in college, including 11 at the NCAA Division I level.
"I started coaching fastpitch softball, as many of us do, with daughters getting involved in the game," Berry said. "I grew a team from eight and under and coached them all the way through the 18-Gold amateur level."
In 2005, Berry revived a dormant softball program at North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw, Ga., and served as the head middle school coach until 2009. He has been the assistant coach for the high school since 2010.
Berry is currently an employment consultant with the PGA of American, a position he has held since 2001. He serves PGA professionals, their employers and the Association by providing employment referral services.
Berry graduated magna cum laude from Harding in 1984 with a B.B.A. in business information systems. He earned an A.A. degree in golf complex operations and management in 1989.
Berry and his wife, Debbie, have two daughters: Stephanie, and incoming freshman at Harding, and Amanda, who will be a sophomore at Harding Academy.