Chennis Berry | Southern University

Team: Southern University
Organization: NCAA Football
Position: Asst. HC/OffCoor/OL
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Biography

For more information about Coach Berry and to check out the OL Drills that he has produced over the years, please visit: http://www.coachberryo-linedrills.com


Chennis Berry completed his fourth season at Southern University in 2016 and first as the team’s Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach. In his four years with the program, he has helped direct one of the most prolific offenses in the country. In 2016, the Jaguars ranked 5th in the nation in Scoring with 39.8 points per game and 11th nationally in Total Offense. Individually, RB Lenard Tillery set the SWAC single-season rushing record with 1,665 yards on the ground and also became the all-time leading rusher in conference history with 4,856 career rushing yards. Tillery was named a finalist for the Black College Football Player of the Year Award and was one of six Jaguars on offense to be named to the 2016 All-SWAC First Team. WR Willie Quinn, who became SU’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, also earned first-team honors in addition to OL Terrell Lee, OL Anthony Mosley, OL Jamal Boulden and TE Dillon Beard.


While Southern’s offense has flourished under Berry’s direction, the offensive line has been especially dominant. The Jaguars have finished no lower than 12th in the nation in Sacks Allowed each of the last three seasons. Since 2013, Berry has mentored nine offensive linemen who have earned All-SWAC recognition including Dewayne Houston who was named an All-American in 2014. Overall, four players on offense have been named All-Americans during Berry’s tenure in Baton Rouge. As a team, Berry has helped guide SU to two SWAC West titles and the 2013 SWAC Championship. The championship represented the program’s first since 2003.


A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Berry came to Southern following two seasons as the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Howard University. In 2012, the Bison finished second in the MEAC with a 7-4 record which was the program’s first winning season in seven years.  The offensive line was key to the Bison’s success as Howard finished 2nd in the MEAC with a 365.4 yards per game average.  The Bison also were second in the MEAC in rushing with 221.5 yards per game average.  These accomplishments led to four Howard offensive linemen earning All-MEAC honors (Josh Matthews, Davin Morris, Bradley Bush Johnson, and David Wilson).  The offensive line also blocked for the MEAC’s leading rusher, Terrence Lefall, who rushed for 1,200 yards in only eight games.


In 2011, Berry helped guide the Bison to five wins – eclipsing Howard’s total of three wins during the previous three seasons combined. On offense, QB Greg McGhee was named MEAC Rookie of the Year after finishing third in the conference in total offense by averaging 197.5 yards per game. He threw for 1,784 passing yards and 13 touchdowns while adding 388 yards and four rushing touchdowns. McGhee was protected by senior OT Cory Gwinner who earned First Team All-MEAC honors. Senior WR Willie Carter was also named First Team All-MEAC after recording 50 catches for 646 yards and 7 touchdowns.


Berry came to Howard after spending the previous two years as the associate head coach/offensive coordinator/offensive line at North Carolina A&T. Berry’s offense had one of the top rushing attacks in the MEAC during both his seasons at North Carolina A&T. He coached Michael Mayhew who was named 1st Team All MEAC and was the MEAC’s returning leading rusher. Mayhew rushed for 1,000 yards in 2010 and was also selected as the MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2009. Wide receiver Wallace Myles was a mainstay at the top of the conference in receptions.


Over his career, Berry has also shown a willingness to expand his coaching knowledge. As part of the NFL's Minority Internship Program, Berry has interned with six different NFL teams, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears. In 2009, he participated in the NCAA Expert Coaches Academy Forum. The program prepares young minority assistant coaches for head coaching positions.


Berry served as Morgan State's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2006-2008. During Berry's time there, the Bears possessed one of the most envied running games in the MEAC. In each of his three seasons with Morgan State, the Bears' rushing offense ranked in the top 50 nationally.


The 2007 season marked the best year the Bears had under Berry. They led the conference in rushing with running back Chad Simpson compiling 127.5 yards per game to lead the league. Nationally, the Bears' running game was the 18th best in the nation. Simpson ranked ninth nationally, earned MEAC Offensive Player of the Year honors and first-team AFCA All-American accolades. Simpson and offensive tackle Clifford Louis went on to sign NFL contracts.


Berry was with NC A&T for a total of five years (2003-05 and 2009-2010). Over his first two seasons with the Aggies, he served as the offensive line coach. A strong running game led the Aggies to the 2003 MEAC Championship and a NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth. Six games into the 2005 season, Berry took over the Aggies offensive coordinating duties. His first game as the Aggies chief play-caller resulted in an Aggies overtime victory in which running back Brandon Sweeney rushed for 205 yards on 42 carries. On November 5, 2005, three Aggies recorded more than 100 yards receiving in a game for the first time in school history. Just three weeks later, Brandon Trusty tied the school record for receptions in a game with 14. By season's end Trusty tied the school record for receptions in a season with 63.


Berry also saw two of his offensive linemen sign NFL contracts. The Green Bay Packers selected Junius Coston in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Walter Stith signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills in 2006. Coston played in the 2005 Senior Bowl and Stith played in the 2006 Hula Bowl.


Berry began his career at Morris Brown College in Atlanta where he coached under Joe Crosby. After one season with Morris Brown, Berry became the offensive line and tight ends coach as well as the strength and conditioning coordinator at Kentucky State under George Small in 1997.


Behind Berry's strong offensive line at Kentucky State, Alvon Brown broke several school and national Division II records. Brown broke the single-season rushing record at KSU twice, and finished his career as the school's all-time leading rusher. He also rushed for 405 yards in a game on September 16, 2000, which at the time was a Division II single-game record. Berry's offensive line also helped Brown win the SIAC Player and Back of the Year awards on two occasions.


In 2001, Berry became the assistant head coach at Fort Valley State. He was responsible for coaching the Wildcats' offensive linemen and tight ends. His impact at FVSU was immediately felt as Philip Shiflet earned SIAC Offensive Lineman of the Year and first-team Sheridan All-Americans honors in 2001.


Running back Orlando Wiley rushed for more than 1,400 yards that season and was named SIAC Player of the Year. The Wildcats' running game led to a Division II playoff berth. The next year another Wildcats running back showcased his talent behind Berry's linemen. Duron Croson was named SIAC Player and Back of the year in 2002. He also led black college football in rushing and was a first-team Sheridan All-American.


Berry holds a masters degree in public administration from Kentucky State University and received his bachelors degree in business administration from Savannah State University. As a player at Savannah State, he earned First Team All-SIAC at offensive tackle and was named Black College All-American Honorable Mention in 1994. He also served as Savannah State's team captain.


Berry is married and has two children, Chennis III (son) and Channing (daughter).

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