Roger Perry hands Golden Bear reins to son Trey
By Laurie Everett
Mt. Juliet News Managing Editor
and Andy Reed
MT. JULIET — Roger Perry passed the reigns of Mt. Juliet High head football coach down to the next generation Tuesday morning, turning the Golden Bears over to his son, Trey.
Roger Perry will remain as the school's director of football operations.
"I'm not retiring," said Roger Perry. "This has been in the planning stages to turn over the head coaching duties to Coach ‘T’. Since my recent health issues it was time to make the move.”
Roger Perry, who underwent five-bypass heart surgery in April, coached Mt. Juliet to a 66-21 record in seven seasons, capped by back-to-back state semifinal playoff appearances, including the Bears' only undefeated regular season, in 2011, when they started 13-0.
In 29 1/2 seasons as a head coach dating to a midseason takeover of his alma mater Westmoreland in 1983, he posted a 266-93 record. That included a 16-year run at Portland where he guided the Panthers to a state championship in 2000.
“Due to the recent health issues I’ve had it was time for a younger man to take over the role as head coach," said Roger Perry, 57. "Our goal is to always do what’s best for Mt. Juliet High School and the football program. Coach ‘T’ and I have always had a good working balance and we’re still going to have that, just our titles have shifted and now he is the head football coach. I’ll be able to do more on the administrative side of running a 6A football program that will take a load off him as head coach."
“Coach Perry is still going to be a huge part of this football program," said Trey Perry, who has served as his dad's defensive coordinator since coming to Mt. Juliet in 2006 and had run the team since Roger's mid-April surgery, including spring practice. "This transition is all thought out and planned for. In the Last two years alone, we won 25 games and lost three. We lost in the state semi-finals to the eventual state 6A champions [Whitehaven]. I’d like to thank principal Mel Brown and athletic director Mike Duncan for having the confidence in me to give me this opportunity."
Trey Perry, who will turn 34 on June 27, played cornerback and quarterback for his dad at Portland, from where he graduated in 1998.
"There was no two-platooning then," Trey Perry said, alluding to one of the keys to Mt. Juliet's recent success, being to play virtually complete separate units on offense and defense.
He went to Tennessee Tech on an academic scholarship and was later placed on a football scholarship, starting at cornerback for the Golden Eagles as a junior and senior.
He re-joined his dad at Portland in 2003 where he coached wide receivers and cornerbacks. He became defensive coordinator when the family moved to Mt. Juliet.
Trey Perry said Hunter Hicks will continue as offensive coordinator. Roger Perry, who has lost 35 pounds since the surgery, will probably continue working with the offensive side of the ball.
"He'll still have a headset on on Friday nights," Trey said. "Nothing will change offensively."
David Basser will be the new defensive coordinator and handle the defensive line, an area he coached most recently at Gallatin and before that at Smyrna and Crockett County.