Ray Perkins

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Ray Perkins
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1941-12-06) December 6, 1941 (age 73)
Petal, Mississippi
Alma mater Alabama
Playing career
1964–1966 Alabama
1967–1971 Baltimore Colts
Position(s) Wide receiver
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1973 Mississippi State (assistant)
1974–1977 New England Patriots (WR)
1978 San Diego Chargers (OC)
1979–1982 New York Giants
1983–1986 Alabama
1987–1990 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1992 Arkansas State
1993–1996 New England Patriots (OC)
1997 Oakland Raiders (OC)
1999 Cleveland Browns (TE)
2000 Cleveland Browns (RB)
2012–2013 Jones County JC
2014–present Oak Grove HS (MS) (volunteer)[1]
Head coaching record
Overall 34–24–1 (college)
Bowls 3–0
Accomplishments and honors
Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (1990)

Walter Ray Perkins (born December 6, 1941) is an American football coach and former player. He most recently was the head football coach at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi from 2011 to 2013. He played as a wide receiver for the University of Alabama and Baltimore Colts. He later worked as a football coach for 28 years, including stints as the head coach for the New York Giants, The University of Alabama, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Arkansas State University.

Early life and playing career[edit]

Perkins was born in Petal, Mississippi. He attended The University of Alabama, playing football 1964–1966. He played for the legendary coach Bear Bryant and was a teammate of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath. The Crimson Tide won national championships in both 1964 and 1965, and Southeastern Conference championships in 1964, 1965, and 1966. During his senior year, he was named team captain. He was also selected as an All-American in 1966.

  • 1964: 11 catches for 139 yards and 1 TD.
  • 1965: 19 catches for 279 yards and 1 TD.
  • 1966: 33 catches for 490 yards and 7 TD.[2]

He played for the National Football League's Baltimore Colts as a wide receiver from 1967–1971, under coach Don Shula. Perkins caught a 68-yard touchdown pass from Johnny Unitas in the 1970 AFC Championship Game to lead the Colts to a 27–17 victory over the Oakland Raiders and a berth in Super Bowl V.

Coaching career[edit]

Perkins coached in the NFL as an assistant for the New England Patriots (1974–1977) and San Diego Chargers (1978) before becoming head coach of the New York Giants from 1979 to 1982, helping to build the team that his successor, Bill Parcells, won two Super Bowls in 1986 and 1990. Perkins hired future NFL head coaches Parcells, Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel as young assistants.

Perkins accepted the immeasurable task of succeeding Bear Bryant as the head coach at his alma mater, the University of Alabama, when Bryant retired. He coached the Crimson Tide for four years from 1983 to 1986, compiling a record of 32–15–1 and winning three bowl games, but went 5–6 in 1984, the school's first losing season since 1957, the year before Bryant's tenure began. He held the distinction of being the only head coach to lead Alabama to a victory over the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame for nearly thirty years. There was controversy from unsatisfied boosters and alumni at Alabama, and a lucrative contract offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led Perkins to leave Alabama for a second chance in the NFL after the 1986 Alabama season.

Perkins served as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1987 to 1990. Some of his former college players got a chance to play for him in the NFL: QB Mike Shula, Kurt Jarvis, and linebacker Keith McCants. His career coaching record in the NFL was 42–75. He was fired mid-way through the 1990 season, and replaced by Richard Williamson. Williamson, like Perkins, was an Alabama alumnus. Perkins returned to college coaching at Arkansas State University in 1992. After just one year, Perkins became the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, serving under Bill Parcells from 1993 to 1996. He also spent 1997 with the Oakland Raiders as an offensive coordinator. On December 20, 2011, he was introduced as the new head football coach at Jones County Junior College (JCJC) in Ellisville, Mississippi.[3] Perkins resigned from JCJC on December 24, 2013.[4] He currently resides in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In 2014, he was said to be taking a volunteer coaching role with Oak Grove HS.[5]


In 1992, former Alabama player Gene Jelks, who had been recruited by Perkins, publicly accused Alabama coaches and boosters of providing him with illegal cash payments and other inducements during his recruitment and years at Alabama (Jelks played from 1985–1989). Jelks's charges resulted in an National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) investigation of the Alabama football program. Perkins's former assistant coach Jerry Pullen sued Jelks for slander, but he lost that case and two subsequent appeals, including an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.



Ray Perkins's teammate on the 1970 Colts team was Bill Curry, who played center. Curry would replace Perkins as the head coach at Alabama.

Perkins coached Mike Shula at Alabama, and also for one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Shula was later hired as an assistant coach of the Buccaneers (1996–1999). Shula became a successor of Perkins's at Alabama as the head football coach there in 2003–2006.

Perkins was the first offensive coordinator for Don Coryell during Coryell's tenure with the San Diego Chargers. His replacement was Joe Gibbs.

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Alabama Crimson Tide (Southeastern Conference) (1983–1986)
1983 Alabama 8–4 4–2 T–3rd W Sun 12 15
1984 Alabama 5–6 2–4 T–7th
1985 Alabama 9–2–1 4–1–1 T–3rd W Aloha 14 13
1986 Alabama 10–3 4–2 T–2nd W Sun 9 9
Alabama: 32–15–1 14–9–1
Arkansas State Indians (NCAA Division I-A independent) (1992)
1992 Arkansas State 2–9
Arkansas State: 2–9
Total: 34–24–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NYG 1979 6 10 0 .375 4th in NFC East
NYG 1980 4 12 0 .250 5th in NFC East
NYG 1981 9 7 0 .563 3rd in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in NFC Divisional Game
NYG 1982 4 5 0 .444 10th in NFC
NYG Total 23 34 0 .404 1 1 .500
TB 1987 4 11 0 .267 4th in NFC Central
TB 1988 5 11 0 .313 3rd in NFC Central
TB 1989 5 11 0 .313 5th in NFC Central
TB 1990 5 8 0 .385 2nd in NFC Central
TB Total 19 41 0 .317
Total[6] 42 75 0 .359 1 1 .500

Coaching tree[edit]

Perkins has worked under six head coaches:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]