Posted: December 24, 2013 6:50 AM
ELLISVILLE – Ray Perkins has resigned as head football coach at Jones County Junior College.
“Over two years ago, I had the great privilege to become associated with Jones County Junior College, more specifically with the kids at Jones County Junior College,” Perkins said Monday afternoon. “I will be forever more grateful and thankful to (JCJC School President Dr.) Jesse Smith for making that happen.
“It has truly been an honor to be the head football coach at Jones County Junior College and I wish them nothing but the best in the future.”
The resignation is effective Dec. 31.
JCJC President Dr. Jesse Smith thanked Perkins for his service to the school and said he will be missed.
“Coach Perkins brought to the college a wealth of experience and excitement,” Dr. Smith said. “We were blessed everyday to have him here. He was always willing to help anyone in our community with any request. He is so approachable to everyone and that is why his players worked so hard for him.
“His world of football greats was shared with us all. He opened our eyes to the road to success. He truly is a great man who always seems to give more than he receives. Our student-athletes had few years of being with a man who truly is one of the greats of all time. We will continue on this path of success in our football program. His wife and family are his treasure and we wish him well.”
In two years as head coach of the Bobcats, Perkins guided JCJC to a 15-5 record.
In 2013, Perkins was named the MACJC Coach of the Year. He led JCJC to its first MACJC South Division title since 2001 and its first appearance in the MACJC championship game since 2007. The Bobcats finished the season at 9-2 and were ranked No. 8 in the final NJCAA poll.
In 2012, JCJC posted a 6-3 record and tied for the division crown, but finished third in the tiebreaker and did not make the playoffs.
“We enjoyed, at least, some success the past two years and that was due in no small way to the kids and the coaching staff,” Perkins said. “I think the kids and the coaches worked extremely hard, but I think we all had fun.
“That being said, over the past couple of months, I’ve decided to go in another direction. But I’m confident Jones will hire somebody to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and they will enjoy a lot of success.”
Dr. Smith said the JCJC Board of Trustees would meet after the Christmas holiday break and formulate a plan on hiring a new football coach.
Perkins said he would continue to be a major booster of JCJC.
“I will be nothing but the biggest supporter of the Bobcats and I will help the JCJC football program in any way that I can,” he said. “You may see me show up at a practice every now and then. I hope for nothing but the best for the school.”
Perkins, 72, is unsure about his future plans, but he does not plan on retiring.
“I’ve tried retirement once, but Jesse rescued me,” he said. “It’s not something I’m very big on at this point. We will see just what happens.”
Perkins’ playing and coaching background is well documented.
He was a star player at Petal High School. He then played on three SEC championship teams under legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant from1964-66 and two national championship teams in 1964-65. He was an All-American wide receiver in 1966.
Perkins was a seventh-round draft choice of the Baltimore Colts in 1967 and played for the Colts through 1971. He helped the Colts to a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V in 1971.
Perkins began his coaching career as the wide receivers coach at Mississippi State University in 1973. He then served as an assistant coach with the New England Patriots from 1974-77 and became the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 1978.
He was named head coach of the Giants in 1979 and stayed through 1982.
He followed Bryant to Alabama in 1983 and served as head coach of the Crimson Tide through 1986, compiling a 32-15-1 record.
Perkins then became head coach of the Buccaneers from 1987-90.
He was named head coach at Arkansas State University in 1992 and then returned to the Patriots as offensive coordinator from 1993-96. He served as offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders in 1997 and was an assistant coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1999-2000.
He had served as a volunteer assistant coach at Presbyterian Christian School in Hattiesburg before coming to JCJC in December of 2011.
Perkins and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters: Rachael and Shelby. He has two sons, Michael and Tony, and two grandchildren, Tyler and Barrett.
Ray Perkins watches the Bobcats during a game early in the 2013 season.