Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry Reflects on Relationship with FCA Coach and Mentor Bruce Riley
November 30, 2021
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many in the NFL know of Andrew Berry, the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. Berry was named GM at age 32, making him the youngest GM in NFL history. Smart free-agency signings and roster management brought the Browns back from a nearly two-decade slump, with many praising Berry for his innovative approach to team management. However, Berry is also quick to point all praise back to Christ—something he learned from his high school football coach and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) mentor.
Berry’s high school coach, Bruce Riley, claims to have always known that Berry and his twin brother Adam would be successful. “[They] quickly established themselves as strong leaders,” Riley commented. “Their faith allowed them to stand up for what was right and be guiding lights. Adam and Andrew were pillars of the faith and stood firm.”
“[High school] was probably one of the more impressionable times in my life,” Berry commented. “Having the FCA community was such a major part of my growth—personally and in my relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Berry and Riley’s story reminds FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson of the importance of the connection between coaches and athletes and the spiritual implications. Williamson stated, “Bruce Riley is a prime example of how instrumental a good coach can be in the lives of young athletes. This is why FCA is invested in impacting the lives of coaches and athletes for Christ. The influence of a coach is life-changing when he or she steps up and shares the love of Jesus in tangible ways with their players.”
FCA provides an open, safe space for coaches and athletes to build relationships centered around Christ. An athletic field offers a neutral rallying point for a community of faith believers, and FCA is honored to support coaches and athletes in both their athletic and spiritual journeys.
Despite all the fame and publicity, Riley is sure that Berry’s relationship with Christ will remain just as strong as it was in high school. “He just has that humility about himself,” Riley commented. “If you walk into his office, he has an open Bible right on his desk. He still has that faith… I truly believe he is stepping aside and he has turned over control to God and is saying, ‘Use me as You see fit.’”
FCA’s theme for 2021 is Pursue, based on 1 Timothy 6:11: “Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” FCA encourages its members to pursue God’s use of His Word as an anchor, grounding Christians as they look to His Kingdom.
To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.