Legendary Rummel coach Don Perret dies at 88

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Don Perret
Don Perret (2012 File photo by Bill Arthurs).

The timing was ironic.

On the night that Archbishop Rummel inducted four new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame, one of its founding fathers and all-time greats left this earth.

Former Rummel head football coach Don Perret passed away Thursday night after a lengthy illness. He was 88.

Perret was honored in the very first Archbishop Rummel Athletics Hall of Fame Class in 1997. He is also a member of the New Orleans Prep Sports Hall of Fame on display at Ye Olde College Inn. He received the prestigious Raider Legend award from Rummel in 2015.

Growing up in New Orleans, Perret played and graduated from Holy Cross.

After serving as a top assistant at Redemptorist, Perret came to Rummel in the same capacity under Joe Galliano before being elevated to head coach in 1971. He served the next eight seasons in outstanding fashion, posting a 65-21-3 record and guiding Rummel to its first-ever district championship, sharing the title in 1973 before winning it in outright fashion in 1974, when he led the Raiders to the Class AAAA semifinals.

Perret coined the phrase and created the now familiar and legendary rallying cry of “Raider Pride” at Rummel. He also introduced the familiar block “R” on the Rummel football helmets which eventually became a primary logo which the school uses to this day.

Perret served as an assistant football coach at Redemptorist, as well as head baseball coach, in 1959-1960 before going to St. Aloysius as an assistant football coach in 1961 under Andy Douglass for one year. Perret returned to Redemptorist as head football coach and athletic director at Redemptorist in 1962, remaining through 1966.

Perret went to Rummel with Galliano in 1966 as an assistant and served in that capacity through 1970 before being named head coach in 1971. Galliano created the football program at Rummel in 1964 and remained as head coach through 1970.

Al Pontiff spent two decades with Perret as a coach at Redemptorist and Rummel. Pontiff and Perret starting coaching together in 1959 at Redemptorist and Perret hired Pontiff as an assistant coach at Rummel in 1971.

“Don was a terrific baseball coach,” Pontiff said. “Not many people know that. He helped make Redemptorist one of the best baseball programs in the state. He was a great football coach, a hard worker, a disciplinarian, very organized, a great motivator. He was comparable to Nick Saban. He worked the kids, coaches and himself hard. He was incredibly dedicated, a great guy to work with. He created Raider Pride.

“Joe Galliano built the programs at Redemptorist and Rummel from scratch and did a great job,” Pontiff said. “Don took over and made it better. Rummel owes Don so much for what he started and Jay Roth continues to this day. He was a great, loyal friend.”

Perret assembled a tremendous coaching staff at Rummel which included future head coaches in Easten Roth, Henry Rando, George Ryan and Randy Johnson.

Easten Roth and Pontiff worked with the offense while Randy Johnson, George Ryan and Henry Rando worked on defense.

“That staff at Rummel was one of the very best coaching staffs ever,” Pontiff said.

Joe Burckel and Marc Martin both played under Perret at Rummel and eventually became head coaches as well at their alma mater.

Easten Roth worked with Galliano at Rummel for the duration of his stay before succeeding Perret as head coach of the Raiders in 1978.

“He was one of the great men I have ever been around, other than my father,” Roth said. “He was a great Christian man, a heck of a football coach who knew how to handle kids and coaches. I cannot say enough good things about him. He was so widely respected by everyone. He would help anyone, anywhere, anytime.

“It is a tremendous loss to the Rummel community and the entire coaching fraternity in the New Orleans area. I was so fortunate to come with him to Rummel High School. He built Raider Pride. It still means so much to the school. It is one of the greatest things that ever happened to a great high school. I have so much respect for him.

“He made me a better person and a better coach,” Roth continued. “He was just a great guy. Our staff at Rummel was a tremendous staff of great coaches whom Don hired. He helped make us successful.”

Ryan played at Redemptorist under Perret and was captain of the Rams. He was hired as an assistant by Perret at Rummel in 1971 and served in that capacity through 1982 before becoming head coach of the Raider sin 1983, serving through 1989.

“He was in unbelievable spirits when we went to see him,” Ryan said. “As a player, he taught us so much. The two men that had a tremendous influence on me in my life were my father and Coach Perret.

“He was such a force to look up to. He was a strong Christian and family man. He loved the kids. He had such power and strength. I did a lot to try to emulate him. I kept in touch with him. He offered me a job at Rummel. It was a great experience being with him. He made Henry, Easten, Al, Randy and I better coaches. He demanded a lot out of us. He wanted us to be the very best we could be. Look at all the people that worked under him. I was blessed to have him in my life.”

Ryan summed Perret up perfectly.

“All the things that Don stood for are the foundation of who I am today,” Ryan said. “He was a great man. He created Raider Pride. I was honored to be asked to tell the students after he left what Raider Pride was. He believed in wholeheartedly. It is real. Those of us who were there and remain there understand this. That is Don’s legacy.”

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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