Philip Berry, Head Coach
Philip Berry came to NMJC in the late spring of 2002. He brings many years of rodeo experience, both personal and professional, to the NMJC Rodeo program. Having grown up in Lea County, Berry has participated in rodeos all his life. In 1976 he was the Southwestern Region Champion in NIRA, he qualified for College National Finals from 1974 through 1976, and in 1986 he won “Rookie of the Year” in PRCA Steer Roping.
Berry loves the sport of rodeo and enjoys being involved in every aspect of it. He is passionate about his work with rodeo athletes and takes a personal interest in each of his team members. It is his goal to build each one’s strengths and break down any weaknesses in order to make the best possible rodeo athlete. His team truly respects his knowledge regarding rodeo and appreciates the wisdom that he shares during practice and competition. Along with coaching, he also recruits at various high school rodeos in New Mexico and Texas year round.
In order to further the sport of rodeo for youth, Berry stays involved in numerous rodeo organizations including LCJRA, AJRA and HPJRA. One of his larger projects since taking on the position as NMJC Rodeo Coach has been managing the College Rodeo Championship Series, a program of the NIRA. This particular project takes a great deal of work to make the event both a successful rodeo for the athletes and an entertaining event for the parents and community. Berry is proud to say that each year this goal has been achieved.
Berry graduated from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. In addition to coaching Rodeo, Berry ranches full time. Berry is married to Aetna Bess and they have two daughters, LaRae and Amanda. He and his family reside on their ranch between Hobbs and Lovington.
Richard Morris, Assistant Coach
Though currently serving as the Assistant Rodeo Coach, Richard Morris has long been a part of NMJC Athletics. He began working at NMJC as the Athletic Trainer for seven years, then spent two years as a physical education professor, after which he became the school’s Athletic Director and remained for 14 years. In 2007, he had the opportunity to go back to the classroom and assist in the rodeo program. Morris came to NMJC after working at various high schools for over 13 years. He started his career in sports medicine at Pueblo High School in Tucson, Arizona. After this, he was the State Licensed and Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer for 10 years at Lubbock High School and 3 years at Hobbs Municipal Schools.
After the move to NMJC, Morris was witness to multiple championships and records, including two trips to the JUCO World Series. However three of his favorites were Kelly Jo Smith’s 2002 Breakaway Roping National Championship, Paul Gutierrez and Kevin Parker’s 2002 Team Roping Championship and Alicia Sandoval’s 2007 Barrel Racing National Championship.
“Above everything else, I enjoy seeing these kids mature and reach their full potential,” said Morris.
Morris says he has enjoyed working with Coach Berry, especially on the new arenas, pens and stalls that were built summer of 2008. He and Berry were both proud to be able to provide their athletes with an exceptional and critically needed practice facility.
“We want these kids to be successful,” he continued. “And we are probably the best in the region to provide them with what they need to do so, including our practice areas and livestock.”
With a Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, a Master of Education in Physical Education, and years of experience with livestock and rodeo, Morris is well qualified to judge the rodeo program and its facilities.
Morris has long loved horses and previously bred and raised Appaloosas. He and his wife Belinda have been married 34 years and have two daughters, Leslie, married to Jared Stoker, and Natalie, married to Jimmy Jack Chatfield. They also have one “all-around” grandson, Jaxon Stoker. Like Morris, all are involved in horses, livestock and rodeo.