As one of six girls growing up in Trumbull, Beryl Piper often entertained herself by playing neighborhood basketball. Her older sister Bonnie was the only other family member who played the sport, but she was playing when games for girls were 6 v. 6 and she wasn’t allowed to shoot the ball. Beryl was lucky to participate in the more modern version of the game as she grew older, and she did everything she could to develop her skills, even if it meant waiting desperately on the sidelines of a guy’s pick-up game at an open gym night.
By the time Beryl graduated from Trumbull High School in 1982, she had made her mark in the varsity field hockey, basketball and softball programs. After graduation, she headed to Central Connecticut State University to play for legendary coach Brenda Reilly. At CCSU, Beryl continued her successful athletic career, serving as a captain of the women’s basketball team. In her senior year, she helped lead the Blue Devils to a 24-4 record and her team reached the NCAA Division II quarterfinals. That team set the record for most wins and best winning percentage in school history. Beryl received the Gail Rutz Award as CCSU’s Outstanding Senior Female Athlete and she also received the Rebecca McCord Award for Athletic and Academic Excellence.
In 1986, Beryl joined the ranks of professional basketball players and she helped lead her team, Team Blarney, to a national championship in Ireland. Piper returned to CCSU after playing in Ireland and graduated with her B.S. in Physical Education and Athletic Coaching. She later earned a Masters Degree in Health Education from Southern Connecticut State University.
Beryl Piper began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, CT in 1987. In 1989, Beryl began coaching in the AAU program. For ten years she worked with the U16 players, leading them to a final 16 finish in 1994 and 1996 and a 7th place finish in the country in 1995. Piper took over as head coach of girls’ basketball at New Britain High School in 1988.
As head coach at NBHS, Piper had four regular undefeated seasons (‘98, ‘01, ‘03, ‘06), won two CCC North Championships (2006 & 07), and 7 CCC South Championships (1998-2004). She brought home three Class LL State Championship trophies (1998, 2006, 2007). In her nineteen year tenure, Coach Piper tallied 293 wins and 147 losses, building the program from an initial 0-20 season to a state powerhouse. She was named Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association in 2007 and also presented with the 2007 Merit Award by the CIAC Girls Basketball Committee. In addition, she was named the 2007 Connecticut Sports Writer’s Alliance Doc McInerney Coach of the Year in a female sport.
In 2008, Beryl returned to her alma mater as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Central Connecticut State University. In her past three years as head coach, Beryl has guided the Blue Devils to consecutive Northeast Conference Tournament semifinals in 2009 and 2010. Over the last two seasons Central has recorded 30 wins, including 20 conference victories. The 30 wins over two years were the most for a Blue Devil squad since the 1988-1990 seasons. In her second season, CCSU finished with the best turnaround record in the nation, improving from 4 wins in 2008 to 18 in 2009. That season also marked the first time in the school’s NCAA Division I history that the team qualified for post conference tournament playoff action when they were selected to play in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Beryl Piper’s athletic talent and coaching prowess have earned her many honors and she is set to earn many more as her career only continues to blossom. In addition to her many coaching honors, Beryl has also been inducted into the Trumbull High School, Central Connecticut State University, and the New Britain Halls of Fame.