Having done a long piece last summer on Fletcher Arritt as Fork Union postgraduate basketball coach and his replacement by son-in-law Brooks Berry, I was somewhat taken aback by the latest news release concerning Berry.
The Covenant School in Charlottesville announced this week the appointment of Berry as its new athletic director. Berry was a schoolboy basketball standout at Patrick Henry in Roanoke who spent a postgrad year at Fork Union before going to West Virginia, where he went from walk-on to starter.
I can’t say I was stunned at the latest announcement, knowing a little bit about his situation from having done the story last summer. Berry’s wife and Arritt’s daughter, Amy, works as a clinical nutritionist at University of Hospital and the family has lived in Zion’s Crossroads, roughly equidistant between Charlottesville and Fork Union.
The older of Berry’s two sons, Noah, will be going to kindergarten next year. He would have gone to school in Louisa County, his father would have been working in Fluvanna County and his mother would have been working in Albemarle County.
Not a good situation.
Now, both mom and dad will be working in the Charlottesville area and Covenant “was just really the whole package in terms of me becoming the best dad and husband I could be,” Brooks Berry said.
Actually, Covenant had approached him last year, when former Covenant athletic director Doug Smethurst had retired, “but, at that point, the timing wasn’t right,” Berry said. “At that point, coach Arritt was coaching off cancer [treatment] and I had just been named PG coach at Fork Union.”
Having seen Arritt when he was doing television commentary at the Virginia Independent Schools state championships in Petersburg, I can say that he is looking much better than he was when I saw him last summer, when he didn’t look bad at all but said he weighed less than 140 pounds.
He looked good enough when I saw him last month that I could see him returning to the Fork Union sideline “but that’s not going to happen,” his son-in-law said. Brooks added that Fork Union has a history of promoting from within and that the next PG coach could well come from the Fork Union faculty.
“I hope to coach again down the road,” said Berry, whose team went 16-10 this past season and lost three games to weather that it could have been expected to win, “In my opinion, the postgraduate teams in Virginia were the best they’ve ever been and we went 3-3 against them.”
He was referring to Hargrave Military Academy, Massanutten Military Academy and Fishburne Military Academy.
“On paper, maybe we weren’t as talented,” Berry said, “but I think you could say it was a good year.”
IN TRYING TO FAMILIARIZE myself with the postgraduate teams in the state, I came across a Hargrave Military Academy schedule that included an 80-70 victory over Virginia Tech’s junior varsity.
I wasn’t aware that the Hokies have a junior varsity and the guys in the office say it’s more likely a club team, but that’s a Hargrave team with eight Division I signees, including Virginia Tech-bound Donte Clark.
Whoever was playing for Virginia Tech that night couldn’t have been too bad.
IF YOU MISSED IT elsewhere this week – and all I did was tweet it – here’s what Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims had to say about his No. 3 spot on the Cavaliers’ depth chart.
“I don’t know nothin’ about how it came that way or what’s going on,” Sims said, “but it is what is, man. If I can’t be me, I’ve got to be as close as I can … [but] it really looks like it’s headed in the opposite direction.”
There has been speculation that Virginia was sending a message to Sims about his conditioning but he said that “the offseason went as good as could have hoped for, so I don’t think it was that. It’s a long story.”
Normally, I’m a conspiracy theorist but I think Sims’ spot on the depth chart may have more to do with the two guys in front of him – redshirt sophomore David Watford and redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert.
This is Watford’s third spring and Lambert’s second spring (both were January enrollees) and UVa would not want to lose either one of them. This is the best way, at this point, to deliver the message that both figure prominently in the Cavaliers’ plans.