Having the rare distinction of being one of Penn’s most prominent three-sport athletes, Eliot Berry earned eight varsity letters in football, squash and tennis during his three years of undergraduate varsity eligibility. A two-time All-Ivy League and All-American honoree in squash, he compiled a 54-2 career intercollegiate squash record over four years. As a place-kicker in football, he earned All-Ivy and All-State honors in 1968 and finished his football career at Penn with 27 field goals and 141 total points. On the tennis courts, Berry compiled a 15-2 career singles record and helped his team to the 1970 Ivy League and Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis (EITA) Championships.
In 1967, Berry scored 10 points kicking in Penn’s 75-0 rout of Delaware Valley College and finished with 27 points as a member of the freshman football team. In the winter, Berry was found on the squash courts, battling out an 11-0 record for the freshman squash team. On the tennis courts that spring, Berry did not disappoint, leading the freshman team to a 5-2 overall record.
Berry earned his first three varsity letters in 1968. As a sophomore, Berry led the football team in scoring with 49 points; hitting 11-for-19 in field goal attempts and nailing 16-of-18 PATs with quarterback Bernie Zbrzeznj holding. Berry’s kicks were the winning margin in four of the team’s seven victories, including the Homecoming 1968 victory over Princeton when Berry kicked a career-long field goal of 39 yards with no time remaining in the game. On the squash courts, berry had an 8-1 mark and helped lead Coach Al Molloy’s Quakers to the Ivy League title. Berry continued his impressive sophomore campaign on the tennis courts, finishing the season at 9-1 in singles and 4-2 in doubles with partner, William Powell.
In 1969, Berry again led the Penn football team in scoring with five field goals and 11 extra points. He ended his junior year of football, kicking two PATs in front of 50,357 fans at Franklin Field in Penn’s 28-14 loss to Ed Marinaro’s Cornell Big Red. Berry went undefeated (10-0) in squash, earning himself All-Ivy League and All-American honors. As a junior in 1970, Berry helped Hugh Curry and John Adams lead Penn Tennis to the Ivy League/EITA Championship. Berry earned his sixth consecutive varsity letter and went 7-2 in singles play.
In his final season on the gridiron for Penn, Berry finished second in scoring to halfback Bobby Hoffman. With Quaker quarterback Pancho Micir holding, Berry banged in six field goals, including a 38-yarder against Lehigh in a 24-0 Quaker victory and a 37-yarder against Princeton in a 22-16 loss.
As a senior on the squash courts, Berry went out in style. He recorded a 9-1 record and, along with Palmer Page, led Molloy’s Quakers to the National Championship after finishing second in the Ivy League. Berry was runner-up in the National Intercollegiate Squash Championships and earned All-Ivy League and All-American honors.
Berry skipped his senior season of tennis and spent the spring of 1971 preparing to tryout for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Berry out-legged 50 other kicking hopefuls at Three Rivers Stadium. Though he never played in professional football game, after Pittsburgh, he was also signed by Coach Norm Van Brocklin of the Atlanta Falcons and later wrote a novel loosely based on his experiences, titled ‘Four Quarters Make a Season.”
His squash career also continued after college, as Berry was ranked four times in the U.S. Men’s Top 10 in hard ball squash, including twice while and undergraduate at Penn. Playing international squash, Berry was a semifinalist at the 1975 French Open and the 1976 Monte Carlo Open. He also played the No. 1 position for the U.S. team at the 1977 World Championships.
Years later, reprising a love for tennis which saw Berry as the New York State Boys 16-and-under Singles and Doubles Champion in 1965, Berry wrote two books, “Tough Draw” (1992) and “Topspin” (1996), which were about the world of professional tennis and what makes some players win and others come in second.