Ray Perkins Remembered as a Hard Nosed Football Coach


The Buccaneers lost their second former coach this year when Ray Perkins passed at home in Northport, Alabama on Wednesday. Having lost former head coach Sam Wyche back in January. Ray Perkins was 79 years young.


Hard Nosed Football Coach

Perkins was known as the man who replaced the University of Alabama legendary head ball coach Bear Bryant. The former SEC Player of the Year and All-American played under Bryant from 1964-1966. After playing four years as a WR for the Baltimore Colts, Perkins would begin in coaching as an assistant for one year at Mississippi State in 1973. He would then coach wide receivers at New England from 1974-1977. Become the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 1978. Then become head coach of the New York  Giants from 1979-1982.

After taking over for Bryant at Alabama in 1983 and coaching there for three years, Perkins would be hired by another former Alabamian, Hugh Culverhouse, to replace Leeman Bennett as Buccaneers head coach in 1987. He would continue coaching at the NFL level for the better part of the next fourteen years.

Buccaneers Fans Memories Of Coach Perkins

For an NFL team that was considered soft at the time, Ray Perkins brought the discipline. Known infamously for his three-a-day practices, he started a youth movement here in Tampa Bay. Like the one he had built in New York with the Giants under a decade earlier. A Giants team that would eventually go to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl under then head coach, Bill Parcells.

That first season in 1987 would be disrupted by the players strike. When the team returned, they almost beat a Chicago Bears team that was still doing the Super Bowl Shuffle from 1986.

Eventually, the three-a-day practices and intense hard nosed coaching would leave players complaining of fatigue late in the season. At a time when owner Hugh Culverhouse was complaining of financial losses, tax records show the team was one of the most profitable in the league. Ray Perkins might have been chided for his intensity. But let the record show, he played with the hand he was dealt.