Special to The Chronicle
Not many high school football coaches are able to orchestrate their own exit. On many levels, Roger Perry counts himself among the lucky few.
Some six weeks after undergoing a complex heart by-pass procedure, Perry told a locker room full of Golden Bears Tuesday morning that he would be stepping into a new role as “director of football operations” at Mt. Juliet.
Perry’s son Trey, has been elevated from assistant head coach to head football coach.
“I’m a blessed man,” Perry, 57, said more than once, “I’m on the road to recovery and I can rest easy knowing the Mt. Juliet football program will go on without missing a beat. I’m thankful to work for a principal like Mr. [Mel] Brown and an athletic director like Mike [Duncan] for their support.
“The thing about this morning — it’s all good news. Coach T and I have had a great balance through the years but make no mistake abut it, he’s going to be the head football coach. I’ll still be around; I’m stepping aside, not stepping down. I’m excited about the future of this football program.”
Perry officially compiled a record of 266-93 in 30-plus years as a head football coach at Westmoreland, Portland and Mt. Juliet. His Mt. Juliet teams have gone 25-3 over the past two seasons.
Trey Perry, 33, has been the architect of Mt. Juliet’s defense since coming to Wilson County with his father prior to the 2006 season. He played for his dad at Portland High and went on to play college football at Tennessee Tech.
“I’ve been preparing for this job for a long time,” Trey Perry said, “If I had my way I would have been a head coach several years ago, but finally, I got dumb out of the way and started to listen to the right way — God’s way.
“It’s not about one person or one role; it’s about all of us. I’m thankful to be a part of a school that wants to win at everything — and that starts at the top with Mr. Brown. I am honored to be in this position.”
“The program is solid, you couldn’t ask for a better foundation,” said MJ principal Brown. “The players won’t notice much difference. Where this program was when Coach Perry came here in 2006 and where we are today is almost unbelievable. I don’t know any other team in the state of Tennessee that could say the only two games they last year were two state champions.”
Tommy Bryan covers sports for The Wilson Post and can be reached at email@example.com.