AFCA's Executive Director - Todd Berry
Todd Berry became executive director of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) on March 1 2016 after being voted into the position by the AFCA’s Board of Trustees at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio.
Berry takes over the AFCA after a 33-year career in coaching, including several head-coaching jobs at the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision levels.
As a standout athlete in high school, which saw Berry named an All-State quarterback in Oklahoma, he had several offers from well-established programs, but always kept his education as a top priority. With that in mind, Berry went to the University of Tulsa where he had high aspirations. After a promising playing career was cut short due to a knee injury in 1981, Berry delved into coaching while still obtaining his undergraduate degree. In 1983, Berry graduated from Tulsa and immediately pursued coaching as his profession. He was hired onto the staff at the University of Tennessee as a graduate assistant and tight ends coach under the legendary Johnny Majors. Berry would coach at Tulsa and Oklahoma State as a graduate assistant before being named the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1986.
While at UT-Martin, Berry coached the Pacers to a top-five finish in Division II passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. In his final season with the team in 1988, all four receivers, the running back and quarterback signed professional contracts. Berry was quickly picked up by Mississippi State University as a wide receivers coach from 1989 to 1990 before serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Southeast Missouri State in 1991. In 1992, Berry moved to East Carolina University as offensive coordinator and running backs coach, positions he would hold for three years before signing on for his first head-coaching job at Illinois State University in 1996.
At Illinois State, Berry took a program that was on the verge of cancellation and brought it back from the brink. After several years of hard work, Berry and the Redbirds achieved what many thought impossible – they made it to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in 1998 for the first time in program history. They did even better the next year, going undefeated in the Gateway Football Conference for the program’s first conference title as Berry guided them to the I-AA semifinals. His efforts in the 1999 season landed Berry AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors. As the Redbirds head coach, Berry led his players to establish or equal 100 individual and team records for single game, season and career levels. The Redbirds were listed in the top 25 rankings for 19 consecutive weeks. In addition, his players were named to 73 postseason awards, including six All-Americans.
After four seasons at Illinois State, Berry went on to be the head coach for the Army Black Knights. In four seasons with the United States Military Academy, Berry’s players and teams set 25 Academy records, and in 2001, were the last team to defeat Navy. In 2004, Berry was named the offensive coordinator at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and in 2005, his offense helped the Warhawks win the Sun Belt Conference championship. Berry’s quarterback in 2005, Steven Jyles, was also named the Sun Belt Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.
After a one-year stint as the quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami (Fla.), Berry moved on to become the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach at UNLV. Berry developed the top quarterback duo in the Mountain West Conference in Omar Clayton and Mike Clausen. Working a two-quarterback system, the two players combined for 2,693 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2009.
Berry returned to Louisiana-Monroe in 2010 as head coach and led a program that was dominated by underclassmen, with 23 freshmen and sophomores listed in the offensive and defensive depth charts. After going up against the nation’s hardest non-conference slate with the likes of Auburn, LSU and Arkansas, Berry and his team fell just short of the team’s first bowl berth. Young talent paid off for the Warhawks in 2012, though, as Berry led the team to their best season since moving up to the FBS level in 1994. With a record-breaking quarterback in Kolton Browning, Berry’s team started the season off fast by pulling off the biggest upset in school history against then-No. 8 Arkansas in overtime. After close losses to Auburn and Baylor and a strong run in conference play, the Warhawks made it to their first bowl game in program history. Berry was named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 2012, and his players were also named the league’s offensive player of the year (Kolton Browning) and made up eight selections to the All-Conference team.
Berry’s association with the AFCA began in 1984 when he became a member. He has been very active with his membership, serving on several committees such as the Luncheon Committee, the Program Committee, the Summer Manual Committee and the Hall of Fame Committee, just to name a few. In 2001, he was named to the AFCA’s Board of Trustees while serving as head coach at Army, and was re-elected to the Board in 2010 after he arrived at Louisiana-Monroe, rising up to the position of First Vice President in 2015. Berry is married to the former Lisa Grimes and the couple have two daughters, Jordan and Ryleigh Jo.
Berry becomes the fifth executive director of the AFCA. DeOrmond “Tuss” McLaughry was the first full-time executive director, serving the Association from 1960-65. He was followed by William “Bill” Murray (1966-81), Charles McClendon (1982-93) and Grant Teaff (1994-2015).