Southern Miss bids emotional farewell to “40” on Scott Berry Day

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — When Scott Berry’s end-of-season retirement was made official on Tuesday, he issued a farewell statement that included a personal anecdote.

When he was working on the field during his earlier days with the program, his daughter asked if Pete Taylor Park was his garden, which he now says that it has been for the last 14 years (23 total).

So when it finally came time to celebrate the USM skipper, mother nature decided his now turf garden needed some watering one last time in the form of a weather delay.

More than two hours later, the Black and Gold faithful finally got the chance to celebrate the legacy of just the fourth head baseball coach at USM since 1959.

During his time at Southern Miss, Berry ascended all the way to the top of the leader board for wins, surpassing 500 just last month.

The one they call “40” won five Conference USA regular season titles and four tournament crowns, adding up to eight NCAA Regional appearances – two of those being hosted in the Hub City, as well as last year’s Hattiesburg Super Regional against in-state rival Ole Miss.

Before Friday’s game against Louisiana, the four-time C-USA Coach of the Year was honored with a special tribute video, while his family got to throw out the first pitch – four of them, to be exact.

Then, almost as if it was scripted, the crowd burst into chants of “Thank you, 40!”

Coach Berry responded by expressing his love for the Baseburg faithful, before screaming “Southern Miss!”

They of course responded with an emphatic, “To The Top!”

Before the game, News 25 caught up with Southern Miss alum Dylan Burdeaux, who led the NCAA in hits as a senior in 2017, and says the garden analogy is perfect for his skipper.

“Yeah, it was kind of funny when I read that,” said Burdeaux. “I know that it’s turf now, but if you would have seen Coach Berry back when it was grass and dirt, he treated it like a garden. It was every blade of grass day in and day out, and he kind of treated his players like that too. He groomed us to become great men, not just great players, so I thought the description was very fitting for Coach Berry.”

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