Rosemary Chesney, asst. sports editor
Berry hired Joel Elliot and Bernard Granville (C17) in the fall as two new football coaches. Elliot is the new defensive coordinator, and Granville is the defensive line coach. According to Head Coach Tony Kunczewski, both new coaches are major assets to the team.
Elliot was a student athlete at the division III school, Denison University in Ohio. He then coached football for nine years starting at Wesley College in Delaware, which is a top five program. He then coached at the Marshall University in West Virginia and University of Memphis, both division I schools.
“I’m excited to be working with good people,” Elliot said. “Coach Kunczewski has done a good job with the football culture. I’m excited for a change to work with these kids and coaches. Hopefully we win lots of games in the fall.”
Granville graduated from Berry in 2017, after playing football for four years at Berry. Out of the 99 football recruits in 2013, Granville was one of only 39 freshmen who stayed on the team all throughout college. He is currently finishing out his contract as a defensive line coach at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Ga., before starting at Berry.
“I ’m excited to come home to Berry,” Granville said. “I’m excited to impact young college kids in the same way that coaches impacted me.”
Former Defensive Coordinator, Zach Smith, coached Granville for two years. Smith has been the defensive coordinator at Berry since 2015. Smith is excited to see Granville and Granville’s wife come back to Berry.
“I ended up having a wonderful relationship with Bernard,” Smith said. “He’s a good player, hard worker and good role model for young men. I am extremely excited to help Bernard grow and become the man I know that he can be.”
Smith coached at Berry for seven years as the defense coordinator. According to Smith, his choice to leave this year was due to the arrival of his third child. Smith wanted to have more flexibility to spend time with his family. However, Smith will still be working in an administrative office at Berry, overseeing the the athletic side of admissions.
“It was a tough decision but while the kids are still young I just want to be more a part of their lives,” Smith said. “Having my own family is really important to me, and I don’t want to miss any of that.”
Berry’s hiring committee interviewed both Joel Elliot and Bernard Granville in depth before making the hiring decision. Smith assisted in the hiring decision of Elliot. Kunczewski said that he also involved the players in the hiring process.
“I think they’re really good coaches but most importantly they are high character individuals,” Kunczewski said. “They are people who can help student athletes not just on the field but most importantly off the field.”