Clifford Berry didn’t take a traditional route to his first head coaching job, and that’s exactly why he believes he’ll be perfect for the job.
Berry was publicly introduced as the next coach of the Danville girls basketball program Thursday evening. A 1998 graduate of Danville, Berry not only got his first job as a head coach, but his dream job as well.
“It’s a dream come true, to be back in my hometown that I played in and graduated from,” Berry said. “I’ve been back here for the last few years as an assistant, but there’s nothing like being a head coach, having the guys say, ‘Hey, coach.’ It feels good to be back home and lead a group of girls I know already.”
After graduating from Danville, Berry went to Berea College to study and play basketball. He lasted through the first half of his sophomore year before an family illness brought him back to Danville.
It was Danville boys coach Ed McKinney who helped steer Berry back on track, bringing his former player onto his staff as an assistant coach.
“My mother ended up getting cancer and I came back,” Berry said. “It was a tough process getting back into that. I just ended up coming back home, working at home for a while, never really figuring out a direction.
“Ed pulled me up and got me going and motivated about coaching. That made me get back into my education. It’s been a long process, but I’m happy I learned a lot along the road.”
For Berry, his struggles after high school and the roundabout path he took in his life will help him lead and teach his players.
“I understand the tough parts about getting to college,…
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