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Heath Hotzler, Published April 25 2008

Berry revisits Mayville

Dean Berry had his career all mapped out.

The Mayville State graduate and former Comets baseball player and assistant was prepared to stick around Mayville, N.D., for good.

The plan was to serve as an assistant for older brother and longtime Mayville State baseball coach, Scott, for a few years. Then when Scott decided to retire, Dean could make his case to become the Comets’ head coach.

But even the best laid plans can change in an instant.

That’s what happened when Dean Berry’s job was eliminated in 2006 due to a large athletic department budget deficit at Mayville State.

“It was very disappointing,” said Dean, who was the head coach at Si Tanka University before he became an assistant at Mayville State. “I didn’t take anything personally. At the same time, here you are a father to one kid and all of the sudden you don’t have any work. Coaching jobs just don’t come along all the time.”

An assistant at Mayville State for four years, Dean accepted a job as the head softball coach at Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D. Despite having no experience in coaching softball, Dean led the Saints to a school-record for wins.

He was named the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference’s coach of the year.

But it was time to get back to baseball.

Dean was hired as Dakota State’s head baseball coach before this season.

Sixth in the latest NAIA Region III rankings, the Trojans are 19-14 this season.

Dean last weekend made his first trip back to Mayville as a coach since his position was cut two years ago.

The Comets went 3-1 against the Trojans.

It was Dean’s first chance to catch up with the many players he helped recruit as a Mayville State assistant.

“It was a great trip,” Dean said. “I love Mayville and I love the atmosphere. To see all those people, and to see Scott, was fun. We were looking forward to it for a long time.”

The Berry family currently makes up 33 percent of the head coaches in the six-team Dakota Athletic Conference. The duo has 39 percent of the victories in the league.

“It’s funny how things work out,” Dean said. “I’m thankful for this opportunity. This is basically what I’ve been looking for.”

Odds and ends

The Dakota Wrestling Club and Matpac will sponsor a benefit breakfast for Concordia wrestler Josiah Simburger at 8 a.m. at The Moose on May 4 in Mandan, N.D. Simburger was was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. … College Sporting News announced six finalists for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference senior student-athlete of the year award. The male finalists are: Andy Bryan (Gustavus), Chris Erichsen (St. John’s), P.J. Theisen (Bethel). The female finalists are: Maria Bye (St. Thomas), Liz Glesne (Bethel) and Nikki Umhoefer (Bethel). Concordia basketball players Luke Linz and Melanie Hageman were among the list of nominees. … Minnesota State University Moorhead junior tennis player Alyssa Schafer was a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference honorable mention selection at No. 6 singles.

Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or hhotzler@forumcomm.com. Hotzler’s small college blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com