Former Alabama soccer coach Ray Perkins, who performed below Paul “Bear” Bryant and later succeeded him as head coach, died Wednesday. He was 79.
“Our condolences to Ray Perkins’ household and mates,” Alabama coach Nick Saban stated through the SEC teleconference. “He served the College of Alabama with nice class and integrity. He was an amazing coach and he had an amazing influence on the sport, and he was a very good particular person and a very good pal.”
Perkins grew up in Mississippi and performed at Alabama, the place he was an All-American extensive receiver and a part of Bryant’s 1964 and 1965 championship groups.
He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts within the NFL and appeared in two Tremendous Bowls earlier than working his method up within the teaching career. He coached the New York Giants from 1979 to 1982 earlier than leaving to take over for the retired Bryant at his alma mater.
Residing as much as the legendary Bryant proved to be a Herculean process, as a lot of Perkins’ strikes had been closely scrutinized, whether or not it was taking down Bryant’s famed tower overlooking the apply subject, shifting away from the wishbone offense or letting go of his common assistant coaches.
Perkins, who additionally served as athletic director, struggled out of the gate, profitable eight video games his first season and 5 the subsequent. However he turned issues round and received 19 video games over the subsequent two seasons earlier than stunning many and leaving for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We’re deeply saddened to listen to of the passing of Coach Perkins,” Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne stated in an announcement. “Only a yr in the past we had been celebrating him as our SEC Soccer Legend in Atlanta, an honor he was really deserving of. Coach Perkins served in each doable capability of Alabama Athletics as an All-American soccer participant, head coach and athletics director, and he will definitely be missed.”
Years after his time at Alabama, Perkins would inform ESPN that the criticism of him making an attempt to wipe out Bryant’s reminiscence was ridiculous. Apart from his marriage ceremony band, a letterman’s ring he received from Bryant was the one piece of bijou he wore.
When Perkins took over as head coach at Jones County Junior School in 2012, he did so driving a sedan with a Crimson Tide vainness license plate.
“I am nonetheless a Roll Tider,” he stated.