Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It took me a couple days to actually sit down with the right frame of mind to write the following. I wrote this on Saturday morning and it will come out in almost its original form in the March 31 edition of 'The Beacon'. Here is the original version of the column with some modified parts. I have been keeping Kendall's family, friends, teammates and coaches in my prayers and I hope you all will continue to do the same. All pictures in this post were taken by Victoria Lynch. This is how I will always remember Kendall Berry:

I only talked to Kendall Berry one time. A twist of fate I never realized until I heard the heart-wrenching news on March 25.

Called to cover for our football beat, I flew over with the team to Middle Tennessee last season to cover that game for The Beacon up in Mufreesboro, Tennessee. It was a rough night for FIU on the whole, but one guy stood out. One player broke through.

That player was Kendall Berry.

When the Golden Panthers needed a spark in the game, Berry was there to provide it. That night he scored three touchdowns and ran for 103 yards on 19 carries in a loss to the Blue Raiders. In a night where the offense struggled, this redshirt sophomore receiver-turned-running-back who started the season fourth on the depth chart broke through and delivered, arguably, the performance of the season. Berry and the Panthers also debuted their version of the WildCat, dubbed the "WildBerry" since the running back was the one handling the snaps.

We interviewed him after the game, and he talked to us about how they needed to keep working and how they wanted to change things up on offense. And then we said thanks and he walked away. That conversation has played in my mind the last couple days as I have helped contribute to the story coming out Monday's Beacon on Berry... I never thought that would be the last time I talked to him. Never thought he might have his life cut short a few short months later.

He was one of us. He was a Golden Panther. He was a student trying to build a future for himself. He was a brother of seven other siblings and a son to two loving parents.

I only talked to him once, but I wish I could have had a chance to talk to him more. But I was blessed to have gotten that opportunity to talk to him for just a few minutes. In those short moments, I could tell he was a hard worker that would not quit. That despite this great game he just had, after having to fight for playing time on that field, he was not satisfied. He would keep on looking forward, looking for ways to improve.

We forget how fragile life can truly be. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, but it is a gift. Every single day is a gift. And Berry used those gifts to become everything he could be. Many who were in his position, after a missing an entire season due to a serious knee injury and being asked to adjust to a new position where he would be forced to compete for playing time, may have just called it quits or gone on to other things. But he persevered. And when the opportunity came, he seized it without hesitation and took charge. A testimony to the kind of athlete and person he was.

Kendall Berry gave FIU great memories and his life will be celebrated and remembered and cherished. Let's not forget what he accomplished both on and off the field and the person he was outside of it.

We will miss you, #19.


  1. Beautiful piece, Joel. We'll all always remember KB.

  2. Hey Joel whats up with pro soccer at FIU stadium.