Todd Berry of Illinois State was hired as Army's football coach yesterday and promised something the Cadets have not had in 50 years: a perfect season.

"I expect in the near future we'll be 11-0," he said. "Anything else would be an injustice to this institution."

Berry, 39, inherits a team that finished 3-8 the past two seasons and plays in Conference USA, a league that features East Carolina, Louisville and Southern Mississippi.

The last team at West Point to have a perfect record was the 1949 squad that went 9-0. The Army teams of 1944 and 1945 were national champions.

"I have never been as inspired by a place until I got here," Berry said. "I like the ideals of West Point. I want to be around people that think big, that dream big, that aspire to be all that they can be."

Berry, who led Illinois State to the Division I-AA playoffs the past two seasons, replaces Bob Sutton, Army's coach for nine years, who was fired two days after Army lost to Navy in their 100th meeting on Dec. 4.

Berry was hired for the second time by Athletic Director Rick Greenspan, who was Illinois State's athletic director for six years and hired Berry in 1995. Berry led the Redbirds to an 11-3 record and the Division I-AA semifinals this season.