Berry Named Grand Marshal for USM 2023 Homecoming Parade
Wed, 09/13/2023 - 10:43am | By: David Tisdale
One of the most beloved figures in the history of University of Southern Mississippi (USM) athletics will play a prominent role in the school’s 2023 homecoming.
Former USM Head Baseball Coach Scott Berry, who retired this year after leading the Golden Eagles for 14 years and is the program’s winningest head coach, will serve as grand marshal for the annual homecoming parade Oct. 7. Berry was asked recently by members of the USM Student Government Association (SGA) to take on the special duty recently as it helps plan out homecoming week activities at the school.
Berry led the Golden Eagles to 528 victories, nine NCAA tournament appearances and two NCAA Super Regional berths; this year, USM was within one win of returning to the College World Series. His career at the university spanned 23 years as both head coach and assistant/associate head coach, and his seven consecutive winning seasons as the program’s skipper currently ranks as the best in Division I baseball. Prior to joining the USM staff in 2001, he had a successful career as head coach and assistant head coach for the Meridian (Mississippi) Community College baseball program.
On four occasions while at USM, Berry was named league Coach of the Year, and his players earned multiple conference, state, and national honors throughout his tenure. He was recently named an honorary inductee as a coach into the Southern Miss M-Club, the Southern Miss Athletics Department letterwinner's association, for its 2023 Hall of Fame class.
Jonathan Jenkins, president of the SGA, said when its selection committee was considering who it wanted as grand marshal, Berry’s name quickly rose to the top of the list.
“Coach Berry’s dedication to Southern Miss and our baseball program, his relationship with the Hattiesburg and Southern Miss communities, and his incredible coaching career at USM is what makes him the perfect person to serve in this capacity,” Jenkins explained. “We wanted to honor Coach Berry by asking him to serve in this role, and we’re very excited he agreed to do it.”
Berry said he’s humbled by the committee’s request, saying that his longtime association with the university “has been more than a job to me - it’s my home.”
"It’s my honor to serve as this year’s grand marshal for the parade,” Berry said. “Southern Miss is the best because of its people. For the past 23 years, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many people and building lifelong relationships. Please join me in celebrating this year’s homecoming as we continue to take Southern Miss To The Top."
USM’s homecoming parade was revived in the mid-1990s under the leadership of former dean of students Dr. Eddie Holloway, who now serves the university as associate provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Holloway also praised the choice of Berry as grand marshal.
“Coach Berry has not only been successful on the field as leader of our baseball program, but also a class act as an ambassador of the university,” Dr. Holloway said. “I congratulate him on this honor and the SGA for their excellent decision to ask him to serve in this role.”
A popular community event, the USM 2023 homecoming parade is tentatively set for 1 p.m., traveling east down Hardy Street and into the main entrance of campus; the parade traditionally features the USM Pride of Mississippi Marching Band, Dixie Darlings, and floats/walkers representing other university organizations, local businesses, and community entities, along with area high school and community college marching bands.
For more information about USM’s 2023 homecoming celebrations, visit the Southern Miss Alumni Association’s “Upcoming Events” under the “Connect” section.