When longtime Lynn Classical freshman girls basketball coach Frank DeLuca decided not to return this winter, head coach Tom Sawyer had a first choice in mind for the position.
And Shardaye Berry, a three-year starter for the Rams who works in the Lynn public schools, accepted the appointment from her former coach.
“I feel great, I feel excited, nervous at the same time, but I’m so ready to take on this new challenge and new journey,” said Berry.
Berry is happy to be returning to the program where she played four seasons, her first two on Coach Gene Constantino’s teams and her last two under Coach Sawyer, who had been the assistant varsity coach during her freshman and sophomore years.
Though she averaged 10 points a game, Berry was known as a defensive standout and excelled alongside Christina McKenzie, Taylor Brown, Breanna Connolly, and Jill Reddy on a state tournament team in her senior year.
Berry graduated from Classical in 2008. She played one season of college basketball at UMass/Boston before transferring to Salem State University. She still plays basketball in a women’s league at the Danvers Indoor Sports Complex.
She has worked in the Lynn school system for five years. For the last two years, Berry was the head coach of the Thurgood Marshall Middle School girls basketball team that won more than 90 percent of its games.
And now Berry is returning to the Green and Gold where she will join Tom Sawyer, former Rams’ great Helen Ridley, and Robert Smith on the staff.
“Coach Sawyer has known me for a long time and we have such a great relationship – he’s awesome,” said Berry. “I’m so excited about going back to the school where I graduated. I look forward to helping the new players entering our program. I’m excited to be a part of such an outstanding high school basketball organization.”
Sawyer is happy to have Berry back contributing to the program. The Rams have been perennial qualifiers for the state tournament and contenders for the Northeastern Conference title.
“I was very excited that Shardaye accepted this opportunity,” said Sawyer. “Shardaye has prior experience coaching at the middle school level and has exactly the mix of skills, knowledge and temperament that we want working with Lynn Classical student-athletes.
“I am very confident that she well teach her freshman team players about the game, but also about what it means to be part of a team,” continued Sawyer. “In addition, as time allows, she will help Coach Ridley and me with the varsity. To say we are overjoyed to have a former player, but more importantly a terrific young woman, join our our coaching staff is an understatement.
Shardaye is a member of a high-achieving athletic family. Her younger brother, Travonne Berry-Rogers, was a standout athlete at Lynn English where he helped lead the Bulldogs boys basketball team to the Division 1 state finals in 2006. He went on to play basketball at Merrimack College and is an assistant girls basketball coach at Lynn English.
“I remember when I was at Classical and Travonne was at English, our parents [Douglas Rogers and the late Lillian Berry-Rogers] had to go back and forth to our games,” recalled Berry. “Now my dad is going to be doing it with us both coaching in Lynn.”