Former New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and University of Alabama coach Ray Perkins has died, three days after his 79th birthday.
"Ray Perkins was a great friend and an outstanding football coach who served The University of Alabama with true class and integrity," Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said Wednesday. "Coach Perkins was a great leader who had a tremendous impact on the game of football at all levels. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Lisa, and his children Tony, Mike, Rachael and Shelby."
Perkins coached the Giants from 1979-1982 with little success, compiling a 23-34 record with one winning season, a 9-7 team that reached the second round of the 1981 playoffs. However, he had a hand in the franchise's future success in hiring Bill Parcells as an assistant coach, who eventually replaced him in 1983. He also hired legendary coach Bill Belichick on the Giants' defensive staff. Perkins' second chance as an NFL head coach came in Tampa Bay, where his Buccaneers teams were 19-41 from 1987-1990.
In between NFL head coaching stints, Perkins notably followed legendary Bear Bryant as head coach of the Crimson Tide from 1983-1986, compiling a 32-15-1 record.
His record as an NFL assistant spanned stints with the New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and finally Cleveland, where he finished his NFL coaching career as the Browns' running backs coach in 2000. From there, Perkins got out of coaching for 12 years before resurfacing at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College and as a volunteer at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss., not far from his hometown of Petal, Miss.
As a player, Perkins was a seventh-round pick of the Baltimore Colts in 1966, and played five seasons for the club at wide receiver under coach Don Shula. He earned a Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl V.
The former Alabama star, who caught passes from eventual Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Namath and Ken Stabler as a collegian, was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.