Berryhill once said, 'It’s more than winning or losing. ... We do this for the relationships.'
Doug Berryhill, coach and mentor at Palm Coast Little League for 45 years, died on Aug. 27 of a heart attack. He was 67.
Berryhill believed in the potential of each young person he interacted with. He was patient, cheerful and, most of all, earnest.
At a clinic under the lights at Indian Trails Sports Complex one year, a crowd of young boys and girls watched him demonstrate how to field a ground ball using two hands. He talked of being precise and doing things the right way, and cheering for each other’s successes — but also trying hard to win.
It was clear that he was empowering the youngsters not just for the season, but for life: He was using their love of the game to develop attributes that would make them better friends, citizens and, eventually, better parents and grandparents. He himself was a proud and loving grandparent, according to Facebook posts from his children.
One of Berryhill’s sons, Kyle, who is now the interim fire chief for the Palm Coast Fire Department, said in a Sept. 2 phone call with the Palm Coast Observer that his experience was like others who had Doug Berryhill has a coach: “I learned how to work on the baseball field, how to compete, how to deal with disappointment, how to handle success.”
Doug Berryhill was optimistic about the community. Occasionally, he would hear complaints about people in Palm Coast, but Doug and Kyle would say to each other, “Who are these ‘bad people’? We just meet the best families over and over again, people who love their kids, who are trying hard, kids who just bring joy to your day," Kyle Berryhill recalled.
“You get attached to the kids,” Doug Berryhill said in a 2018 interview with the Palm Coast Observer. “It’s more than winning or losing. There’s always another game to play, always another game to win, always another game to lose, but we do this for the relationships.”
Indeed, one star player named Ben Apfelbach said of Berryhill after a season ended, “He’s taught me so much. Leaving him is like leaving a family member.”
According to his obituary published by Clymer Funeral Home & Cremations, he is survived by his sons, James Kyle Berryhill and his wife, Danielle; Trevor Scott Berryhill, and his wife, Kristi; Brooks Kendall Berryhill, and his wife, Jessica; his six grandchildren; three siblings; and the mother of his children, Deborah Berryhill.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Berryhill’s name to Palm Coast Little League, 5455 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast, Florida, 32137. For members of Berryhill's South Brandon Senior League teams, visit https://gf.me/v/c/fc46/doug-berryhill-memorial.