COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Chennis Berry is on a mission.
The former Southern University offensive coordinator has come to Columbia in hopes of making Benedict College one of the best college football programs in the country as their new head coach.
“My job as the head football coach here at Benedict College is to make you a better man, first and foremost,” Berry told players during a press conference on Tuesday. “The wins will come, but we want to make sure that we create great young men that are representing this program and building our brand on the field as well as off the field in the campus community.”
Berry previously served as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Southern University for seven seasons. Berry also had stops at Howard, North Carolina A&T, Morgan State, Morris Brown, Kentucky State, Fort Valley State, and Savannah State. However, this is Berry’s first chance at running a program as the head coach. This opportunity is something he’s ready to take on.
“I’ve been under a lot of different head coaches and learned a lot of things on what to do. So, I’m excited about my first opportunity to be a head football coach.”
Last season, Benedict finished 1-9. However, Berry saw several positives in taking the head coaching job with the Tigers.
“It’s in fertile recruiting land,” said Berry. “In the state of South Carolina, I think that is an amazing place to recruit all these student-athletes. Also, the vision and leadership of Dr. Artis, she’s totally into the program and, with positive leadership at the top, we feel like we’ll have the resources to be successful.”
Still, Berry understands there lots of work to do to get the program where he wants it to be. In order to do that, the first step is changing the mindset of the players.
“The biggest thing is just giving belief,” Berry said. “I think that’s half the battle with anything. Anytime you’re in a situation where you’re taking over a program, you have to get the young men believing in the mission and the mission is going to start in the offseason, in the weight room, doing things that are important to get us to Saturdays and September.
"But I think if we can just get them believing and change the mindset, I think half the battle is mindset. You have to have like mindset and a positive mindset and teach these young men that we have to win not only on the field, we have to win in the classroom. We’ve got to win the day and, if we continuously win the day, we’ll put a good product on the field when it comes to Saturdays.”