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2012 January 9 - 12:00 am

SPORTS: Former NFL Coach To Head Mississippi College Program

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (AP) — The man who followed Paul “Bear” Bryant as head football coach at the University of Alabama and also served as head coach of the NFL’s New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was named the new coach at Jones County Junior College.

Ray Perkins became the 14th head coach of the Bobcats, replacing Eddie Pierce, who resigned earlier this month after six years as head coach.

“I am delighted you would show the confidence in me to be your next football coach,” Perkins told a crowd attending the formal announcement and press conference. “I am very much looking forward to it.”

Perkins, 70, had been retired for 11 years. He said a volunteer stint at Hattiesburg’s Presbyterian Christian School sparked interest in returning to a full-time coaching gig. “That kind of started the juices flowing again. I have a passion for the game and I don’t think you ever lose the passion for the game. The job came open here, one thing led to another and here we are.”

“This is a great day for JCJC,” said college President Jesse Smith. “We are very excited about the direction we are taking. There are two types of news that travel fast and that’s bad news and really, really good news. And this is not bad news for JCJC.”

Perkins has coached 20 years on the professional level and six on the senior college circuit. He said he would have to learn and adjust to several aspects of junior college football.

“I have kept up with it a little bit, but not a lot,” he said.

He said he planned to finalize his staff and begin concentrating on recruiting as quickly as possible. “We will begin some meetings on what we are going to do offensively, defensively and in the kicking game,” he said. “We need to make sure we are on the same page when we start working with the players.”

Perkins played on three Southeastern Conference championship teams under Bryant from 1964-66 and two national championship teams from 1964-65. He was an All-American wide receiver in 1966 and a seventh-round draft choice of the Baltimore Colts in 1967. He helped the Colts to a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V in 1971.

Perkins began his coaching career at Mississippi State in 1973. He then served as an assistant coach with the New England Patriots before becoming offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. In 1979, he was named head coach of the Giants and stayed through 1982.

He followed Bryant at Alabama in 1983 and served as head coach through 1986, compiling a 32-15-1 record.

Perkins then became head coach of the Buccaneers from 1987-90. He was named head coach at Arkansas State University in 1992 and then returned to the Patriots as offensive coordinator from 1993-96. He served as offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders in 1997 and was an assistant coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1999-2000.

He has been retired for the most part since then, but served as a volunteer assistant at PCS the past two years.   

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