Tootie Perry

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Tootie Perry
Carl Perry.png
Perry c. 1921
Florida Gators – No. 13
Position Guard/Center
Class Graduate
Career history
High school Gainesville
Personal information
Born: (1896-02-04)February 4, 1896
Rochelle, Florida
Died: August 9, 1946(1946-08-09) (aged 50)
Gainesville, Florida
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg)
Career highlights and awards

Carl Esmond "Tootie" Perry (February 4, 1896 – August 9, 1946) was an American college football player. He played at the guard position and was the first All-Southern player for the Florida Gators football program of the University of Florida .

Early years[edit]

Perry was born in Rochelle, Florida, in 1896.[1] His parents were Thomas Jefferson Perry and Laura Jane (Sparkman) Perry.

University of Florida[edit]

Perry twice enrolled in the University of Florida in Gainesville; first in 1916, and again in 1919. He initially played for coach C. J. McCoy's Florida Gators football team in 1916, but returned at age 23 to play for coach William G. Kline's Gators teams from 1919 to 1921. Perry was five feet, ten inches tall, and at his largest weighed 235 pounds while playing at the guard and center position for the Gators.[2] In a 16–0 loss to Georgia in 1919, "through Perry's ability to handle Day, the Georgia star center, Florida outbucked Georgia..."[3]

In 1921, Perry was a first-team All-Southern selection of the Chattanooga News, Columbus Enquirer-Sun and Nashville Banner, becoming the first All-Southern player at Florida, and also the senior team captain on Florida's team.[4][5] An account of the Mercer game reads "Capt. Tootie Perry was again the star on defense."[6] The 1922 Seminole, the University of Florida yearbook, called Perry the Gators' "jolly captain" and "Dixie's greatest guard" who played every minute of every game for two years[2] and "developed into a wizard at blocking punts."[7]

While attending Florida, Perry worked during the summers shoveling coal as a fireman on locomotives for the Atlantic Coast Line between Jacksonville and Leesburg, Florida. Shortly before Christmas in 1921, and after the football season had ended, he left school to return to his work on the railroad.[8]

Later years[edit]

Perry later went into the ice cream and dairy business in Gainesville. He married, and he and his wife, Ethelyn, had two daughters, Mary Ethelyn (born c. 1924) and Elizabeth Carter (born c. 1926).[9][10][11]

Perry also remained active with the Florida football program after graduating. In 1925, he moved back to Gainesville and became a fixture on the sidelines at Florida football games, serving as the team's water boy.[11][12] He gained national media notoriety as the "All-American Waterboy,"[13][14] and he also hosted an annual Homecoming barbecue and Brunswick stew banquet for alumni.[15]

Perry died in 1946 at age 50 in Gainesville and was buried in the local Evergreen Cemetery. In 1949, the University of Florida named a new baseball field "Perry Field" in his honor, built on land donated to the university by his family.

He was posthumously inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1992.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Carl E. Perry, born February 4, 1896, at Rochelle, Florida, employed June 1917 as a messenger with the Lou Express Company.
  2. ^ a b Carlson, pp. 23-26
  3. ^ "Georgia Wins From Florida". The Tennessean. October 26, 1919. p. 20. Retrieved January 24, 2016 – via open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "Scribes Are Finding Material Plentiful for All-Star Machines," The Atlanta Constitution, p. 12 (November 29, 1921). Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  5. ^ "Some All-Southern Selections," The Atlanta Constitution, p. 4B (November 27, 1921). Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "Mercer Goes Down Before Orange and Blue Onslaught". Florida Alligator. October 21, 1921.
  7. ^ The Seminole 1922, Vol. XII (University of Florida yearbook), page 141.
  8. ^ "Gridiron Star Shovels Coal: "Tootie" Perry Fires Engine on Atlantic Coast Line". St. Petersburg Times. February 3, 1922.
  9. ^ 1930 U.S. Census entry for Carl E. Perry, age 33, born in Florida, proprietor of an ice cream business. Census Place: Gainesville, Alachua, Florida; Roll: 306; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0015; Image: 349.0; FHL microfilm: 2340041. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  10. ^ 1940 U.S. Census entry for Carl E. Perry, age 44, born in Florida, dairy owner. Census Place: Gainesville, Alachua, Florida; Roll: T627_573; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 1-17. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  11. ^ a b "Tootie Ready For Welcome: Gators' "Water Boy" Will Be First to Greet New Florida Coach". Sarasota Herald. January 31, 1928. p. 3.
  12. ^ "Mechanized Water Boy," The Sandusky Register, p. 15 (November 14, 1941). Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  13. ^ Associated Press, "Hurry 'Tootie!'," The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune, p. 6 (November 3, 1932). Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  14. ^ "'Tootie' Gets New Water Wagon To Push for Gators". The Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla. September 16, 1941. p. 10.
  15. ^ "'Tootie' Perry to Be Chief Caterer For Gator Event". Sarasota (Fla.) Herald. November 11, 1937. p. 6.
  16. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  17. ^ "UF inducts seven into Hall of Fame," The Gainesville Sun, p. 2 (April 3, 1992). Retrieved September 2, 2014.


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  • Douchant, Mike, Encyclopedia of College Basketball, Gale Research, New York, New York (1995). ISBN 0-8103-9640-8.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.