The greatest tribute to Rob Berry would be to extend a strong Carroll High School girls basketball program.
“We want to always continue the program and keep it strong in his tradition because he did such an outstanding job with it,” reflected Carroll athletic director Scott Molfenter after Berry died early Thursday norming due to complications of cancer in the brain and lungs. “We’ll keep things going in a positive direction.”
Berry, 64, died at home surrounded by family after taking a turn for the worse earlier this week. His death ends a 14-year run as the Patriots’ ultra-successful head coach.
A reserved and dignified bench presence, often in suit coat and tie, Berry’s Carroll teams were a combined 260-87 (.749 winning percentage), an average of better than 18 wins per season. Under his guidance the Patriots won four titles in the now-defunct Mid-Miami League and three more in the Greater Catholic League North Division in a window between the statewide dominance of Chaminade Julienne and Alter in girls basketball.
Led by Kelley Austria, who would star on several outstanding University of Dayton women’s teams, Carroll played for the Division II state championship in 2011, losing 54-51 to multi-state champ Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown.
Last season Carroll was 16-9 overall and 8-2 in the GCL Co-Ed North, losing only to rival and two-time defending state D-II champion Alter. Berry was forced to miss several games and practices. Top assistant Cecilia Grosselin essentially ran the team in his absence and continued to coordinate recent summer workouts and the Patriots’ summer camp.
Berry underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery earlier this year. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer.
“He did a great job of raising the bar of building that program and then maintaining it,” Alter coach Chris Hart said. “They’ve been solid almost since he took over. He really did a great job from the time he took over of changing the process of the program to how they approached the game.”
A Beavercreek resident, Berry is survived by his wife Kathy, daughters Brogan and Chelsea and sons Tyler and Brenden. All the siblings are former Carroll athletes. Brogan was a record-setting, four-year starter in basketball at Harvard University from 2008-12. She started all but one of 116 career games and is the only Ivy League women’s player to score 1,400 career points and collect 500 assists.
Rob Berry also was a longtime AAU girls basketball coach and was a City of Kettering employee with the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. He also was a certified soccer official.
“One of the things that I respected about him the most was his love and dedication for the game of basketball,” said Jim Dabbelt, executive director of The Dabbelt Report, an online girls basketball site. “He worked as hard as anyone in the game to prepare his team to win and the respect he has from his peers was at the highest level.”
Showing and funeral times and location will be announced by the family.
“He was a very good sportsman and very loyal to Carroll and very loyal to the GCL,” Hart said. “He represented Carroll very well.”