East Webster softball coach Lee Berryhill announced his retirement on Wednesday morning after 26 years of coaching, 25 of which came in Webster County.
He coached slow-pitch and fast-pitch softball the last eight years at East Webster High School, and he coached baseball for 17 years at Eupora before that. His first year of high school coaching, in 1993-1994, was at Wheelerl.
Berryhill was happy and not planning on retiring when his fast-pitch season was cut short due to COVID-19, but he said an opportunity presented itself to him that he couldn’t turn down.
“It’s been a whirlwind of emotions since I made that announcement,” Berryhill said. “An opportunity fell in my lap that I’m excited about and ready to pursue. ... I’ve very blessed for the last eight years at East Webster and really appreciative for everything they’ve done for me.”
Berryhill, who has seven total state championships to his name, has seen a lot of success in his career.
He won two baseball state championships during his 17 seasons at Eupora, and he has won five state championships combined between slow-pitch and fast-pitch softball in eight seasons at East Webster.
He coached in 11 semifinals while with the Lady Wolverines.
It’s not the state championship appearances and wins that Berryhill will remember, though, it’s the family atmosphere that Webster County has given him for so long.
“My favorite memories, especially at East Webster, are just being with the faculty, staff, student body, players and assistant coaches,” Berryhill said. “It’s one big family and everybody helps each other. It’s a great place to be.”
After announcing his retirement, Berryhill sat back and reminisced on his career, where he both started and ended at Wheeler.
Before the season was cut short due to coronavirus, the Lady Wolverines traveled to Wheeler and played a doubleheader on March 6 during spring break.
“I find it pretty ironic that my first game I ever professional coached at the high school level was at Wheeler and the last game I coached was at Wheeler,” Berryhill said. “It kind of goes full circle. It makes you think and makes you wonder a little bit.”