Former Alabama Coach Ray Perkins Dies at 79
Former Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Ray Perkins, who played under legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and ended up succeeding him as the school’s football coach, died at the age of 79 on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Alex Scarborough.
Perkins played for the Crimson Tide and was an All-American wide receiver and part of Bryant’s 1964 and 1965 championship teams.
Following his stint at Alabama, Perkins was drafted by the Baltimore Colts and appeared in two Super Bowls before transitioning to a coaching career. Perkins would coach the New York Giants from 1979 until 1982 before leaving to take over for Bryant at Alabama.
“Our condolences to Ray Perkins’ family and friends,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said during the SEC teleconference. “He served the University of Alabama with great class and integrity. He was a great coach and he had a tremendous impact on the game, and he was a really good person and a really good friend.”
Perkins would later return to the NFL coaching ranks after shockingly leaving for a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Perkins,” Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said in a statement. “Just a year ago we were celebrating him as our SEC Football Legend in Atlanta, an honor he was truly deserving of. Coach Perkins served in every possible capacity of Alabama Athletics as an All-American football player, head coach and athletics director, and he will certainly be missed.”
Perkins took over as head coach at Jones County Junior College in 2012, and also served as head coach of Arkansas State, as well as serving on staffs for the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, and the Cleveland Browns.