Bill Berry (basketball)

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Bill Berry
Personal information
Born 1942 (age 73–74)
Winnemucca, Nevada
Nationality American
Career information
High school Humboldt County
(Winnemucca, Nevada)
College Michigan State (1961–1964)
Coaching career 1966–2007
Career history
As coach:
1966–1969 Highlands HS
1970–1972 Cosumnes River JC
1972–1977 California (assistant)
1977–1979 Michigan State (assistant)
1979–1989 San Jose State
19891991 Sacramento Kings (scout/assistant)
19911999 Houston Rockets (scout/assistant)
19992003 Chicago Bulls (assistant)
2001 Chicago Bulls (interim)
2006–2007 Washington Wizards (assistant)
Career highlights and awards

William Edward "Bill" Berry (born 1942) is an American retired basketball coach.

Early life and college career[edit]

Berry was born in Winnemucca, Nevada[1] and graduated from Humboldt County High School in 1960. He then attended Michigan State University. From 1961 to 1964, Berry played on the Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team under coach Forddy Anderson.[2][3] At Michigan State, Berry was the top team rebounder for the 1962–63 season with 184 total rebounds and 9.2 per game.[4] Berry earned his bachelor's degree in 1965 and master's degree in 1969 from Michigan State, both in physical education.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

Berry began his coaching career in 1966 as head varsity basketball coach at Highlands High School of North Highlands, California and stayed as coach until 1969.[2][3] After completing his master's degree at Michigan State, Berry became head coach at Cosumnes River Junior College from 1970 to 1972. Then, Berry became an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level with California until 1977. Berry then returned to his alma mater Michigan State to be an assistant coach under Jud Heathcote and was part of the coaching staff of the 1979 NCAA championship team that featured Magic Johnson.[3]

From 1979 to 1989, Berry was the head men's basketball coach at San Jose State. For the San Jose State Spartans, Berry had a 142–144 record, then the Spartans' second-highest win total under one coach.[3] Under Berry, San Jose State had a 17–12 record in the 1979–80 season, won the 1980 PCAA tournament, and made the 1980 NCAA tournament.[5] In a 21-9 season in 1980–81, San Jose State qualified for the 1981 National Invitation Tournament.[6] San Jose State also had three straight seasons over .500 from 1984 to 1987.[7] However, the 1988–89 Spartans finished 5-23.[8] In January 1989, when the team was 5-11, 10 of the 14 players on the Spartans men's basketball team accused Berry of "mental cruelty" and refused to play or practice under Berry as coach. However, the players declined to provide specific examples.[9] Berry then organized a new team of walk-on athletes, including star football player Johnny Johnson.[10] San Jose State dismissed Berry after the season.[11]

After San Jose State, Berry entered the NBA as a scout and assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings in 1989. He transferred to the Houston Rockets as a scout in 1991 and then assistant coach in February 1992 under Rudy Tomjanovich. Berry was an assistant coach to the Rockets 1994 and 1995 championship teams. From 1999 to 2003, Berry was an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls[3]

Berry was an assistant under Tim Floyd until Floyd resigned on Christmas Eve (December 24) of 2001, when the Bulls named Berry as interim head coach.[12] Berry coached two games, both losses, and Bill Cartwright became permanent head coach effective December 28.[3][13] On September 7, 2006, the Washington Wizards announced that Bill Berry would join the team as an assistant coach to head coach Eddie Jordan.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Bill Berry has been married to Clarice "Reese" Berry since 1963 and had two children.[2][15] The Berry family lived in Morgan Hill, California during Bill Berry's tenure at San Jose State.[16] Their son Ricky Berry (1964–1989) played at San Jose State under Bill Berry, and Ricky Berry went on to play for the NBA team Sacramento Kings before committing suicide in 1989.[2]

Head coaching record[edit]


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
San Jose State Spartans (Pacific Coast Athletic Association/Big West Conference) (1979–1989)
1979–80 San Jose State 17–16 7–6 4th NCAA First Round
1980–81 San Jose State 21–9 10–4 2nd NIT First Round
1981–82 San Jose State 13–13 7–7 T–4th
1982–83 San Jose State 14–15 7–9 6th
1983–84 San Jose State 10–18 6–12 T–7th
1984–85 San Jose State 16-13 10–8 T–4th
1985–86 San Jose State 16-12 9–9 T–4th
1986–87 San Jose State 16–14 10–8 T–2nd
1987–88 San Jose State 14–15 8–10 T–6th
1988–89 San Jose State 5–23 1–17 10th
San Jose State: 142–144 75–90
Total: 88–161

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
CHI 2001–02 2 0 2 .000 (interim)


  1. ^ "Winnemucca native seeks Padgett's old job". Nevada State Journal. June 10, 1976. p. 9. 
  2. ^ a b c d Fred Stabley and Tim Staudt (2003), "Forever a Coach?", Tales of the Magical Spartans, Sports Publishing, pp. 141–142 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Bill Berry". NBA. 2002. Archived from the original on February 13, 2005. 
  4. ^ Seibold, Jack D., Spartan Sports Encyclopedia: A History of the Michigan State Men's Athletic Program, p. 915 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Norwood, Robyn. "Ten Walk Out at San Jose St.". Los Angeles Times. 
  10. ^ Norwood, Robyn (March 8, 1989). "In the Wake of the Walkout : After Losing His Players, San Jose Coach Fights for His Job". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Controversial Coach Leaving San Jose State". New York Times. 
  12. ^ Johnson, K.C. (December 25, 2001). "Baton put in Berry's hands". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ Johnson, K.C. (December 28, 2001). "Berry's tenure ends quietly". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ Carter, Ivan (September 8, 2006). "Berry Joins the Wizards As an Assistant Coach". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  15. ^ McNeal, Martin (August 19, 1990). "Ricky Berry's Suicide Still a Mystery". McClatchy News via the Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ Geissinger, Steve (August 20, 1989). "What demons drove Kings' Ricky Berry to commit suicide?". Associated Press via Deseret News. Retrieved March 23, 2013.