Greg Berry followed life’s path through basketball and FCA

Manlius’ all-time leading scorer was a 3-sport letterman at Bradley University.

Greg Berry was an all-state basketball player for Manlius High School and a three-sport lettermen at Bradley University. Berry, who passed away Sunday, made the Fellowship of Christian Athletes his life's mission.

Greg Berry left a legacy in many ways.

He was an all-around athlete, all-state player and all-time leading scorer in basketball for Manlius High School.

He went on to Bradley University on a basketball scholarship and was the last athlete to letter in three sports, including golf and track, and was named to the school’s Hall of Fame.

He made the Fellowship of Christian Athletes a lifetime passion.

Berry, who passed away last Sunday evening, Feb. 4, in Las Cruces, New Mexico at age 77, after years of kidney problems, is fondly remembered for the person and athlete he was.

He is ranked No. 16 among Bureau County all-time scorers with 1,552 career points. He was the top scorer in Bureau County two years running, including a 24.7 scoring clip as a senior in 1963-64.

Greg Berry was the Bureau County leading scorer during the 1963-64 season (also in 1962-63) as shown in this BCR clipping in 1964. Berry passed away Sunday, Feb. 4 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

His classmate Sam Johnson also scored 1,000 points (1,164) as did his brother, Norm Berry, (1954-57) with 1,138.

Steve Doty was a year behind Berry at Manlius and followed him to play basketball for Bradley. Doty, a Hall of Fame coach at Washington High School and father of Streator coach, Beau Doty, said Berry was a great talent and person.

“He was 6-6, but he scored a lot from 15 to 18 feet and was a very good free throw shooter,” Doty said. “At that time there were not many 6-6 players with his offensive skills, who could score in such a variety of ways. He was a great teammate and all-around great person.”

Tom Dobrich, who was a 1,000-point scorer for DePue, had many battles against Berry and the Red Devils. He once drew the unexpected assignment of guarding Berry, despite giving up about nine inches to the Red Devils center.

“I don’t know why, but our coach, Don Dobrino, had me kind of guard him, I guess hoping Berry would push me around or something,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about the job. Just knew my work was cut out for me. I had to be smart and aggressive and pester him and cause him to do different things. Because I was kind of quick and could get in his way.

“I don’t know how successful it was, because we got beat by 20. But I remember that fondly and I remember that team. They were a very, very good team.”

Dobrich said Berry was a very good player.

“He was athletic and could jump and had the size. He could shoot and played good team ball,” he said. “I remember him being very calm and cool. In fact I remember all the guys from Manlius being calm and confident team.”

The Little Giants and Red Devils would meet again in the district finals in DePue, where Dobrich scored 30 points to lead the Little Giants to a 63-53 victory.

Berry went on Bradley, but at the time, players were ineligible to play on the varsity until their sophomore year. He was a reserve for most of his career, but came on strong his senior season, Doty said, and became a starter and had a very good year.

Berry coached collegiately for four decades, including stints at Northeastern State University (1990-93), Houghton College (1994-98), New Mexico State University (1975-85, 1999-01, 2003) and New Mexico Highlands University (2005-08).

He was also a staff member for Athletes in Action, playing and coaching in 46 states and 12 foreign countries.

A man of strong faith, Berry’s life mission went well beyond the basketball court, however, best described by his Linkedin profile.

“Approaching life from a distinctly Christian perspective, I have worked to apply Biblical truths and principles to every area of daily life,” he said. “I purpose to see life through the perspective of God’s revelation of Himself and move in the same direction as I have seen Him moving in history.

“Because of these truths, I approach life full of optimism and hope. God rules in the affairs of mankind and we can know Him if we seek Him with all our hearts.”

The former Manlius Red Devil and Bradley Brave has now scored his biggest point in his life, scoring his eternal home.

Kevin Hieronymus has been the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at

Have a Question about this article?