Buena Vista University (BVU) Director of Athletics, Jack Denholm, has announced that BVU Head Women's Basketball Coach Janet Berry will step down following the 2017-18 season to take over as the University's head women's golf coach and director of golf operations. She will also remain an assistant professor of physical education; teaching for both Storm Lake and degree completion students. Current Associate Head Coach, Dana Christen will assume the role of head women's basketball coach.
Berry has patrolled the sidelines for the women's basketball program the last 26 years and is the all-time winningest coach at 389-286. She has guided the Beavers to five Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) championships and five NCAA Tournament berths. BVU has missed out on the conference tournament only twice since the tournament began back in 1998-99.
A five-time Iowa Conference Coach of the Year, Berry guided the program to consecutive 25-win campaigns (2002-03 & 2003-04) with the 2003-04 squad winning a school-record 23 straight games. In 2004-05, she led the team to its only undefeated conference mark (16-0). Berry has coached seven conference MVP's, including four straight from the 2002-03 season thru the 2005-06 campaign. She was named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) West Region Coach of the Year in 2005.
Berry's teams have also excelled in the classroom over the years. In 2003-04, the Beavers topped the WBCA Academic Top-25 Honor Roll list for Division III at 3.603. Berry has also had four players over the years receive NCAA post-graduate scholarships.
"We are forever grateful for the many years of service Janet has given to the women's basketball program," says Denholm. "She has always led the program with integrity and has made it a consistent contender in the league. I am excited about the direction that the women's basketball and golf programs will take. We are excited about her taking over the women's golf program and continuing to build that program back up to a contender as well."
Berry will look to build up a women's golf program that has not finished higher than sixth at the IIAC Championships since 2006, after placing in the top-3 each year from 1995-2005 and winning four IIAC championships. The team took seventh this past fall and had its first all-conference finisher (freshman Raelinn Arnold, 5th) since 2011.
"For the past twenty-six years, it has been my honor to lead the women's basketball team here at BVU," states Berry. "The wins, the travel, and most of all the relationships, will be a part of me for the rest of my life. It is now time to pass the torch. Dana is ready and will do an amazing job. I am grateful to all my current and former players and to BV for giving me this opportunity to share my golf expertise."
Christen, who was promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach after the 2016-17 season, has spent the last seven years as Berry's top assistant. During her tenure, she has been instrumental in developing several key post players. Two years ago, BVU had multiple players ranked in the top-15 of the IIAC in both scoring and rebounding. This season, the Beavers are ranked in the top-3 in rebounding and are tops in blocks.
"With Dana taking over, the program I'm confident in the future of BVU basketball," adds Denholm. "Having been associated with the program for a handful of years, this will make for an easier transition. She relates well to the players, and we're excited to see her continue to build upon the strong foundation Coach Berry has put in place."
Prior to coming to BVU, Christen served as the head volleyball coach at Newell-Fonda High School in 2009 and was named the Class 1A District Coach of the Year. She also received the E. Wayne Cooley "You Can" Award for demonstrating great character and leadership in her coaching. She also spent time as an assistant basketball coach at South Sioux City High School (2007-08) and Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, Wis. (2008-09).
Christen and her husband Mike have one son, Lakota, and are expecting their second child this spring.