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James Perry ’00 hired as head football coach

Following departure of Phil Estes, Perry looks to right ship after two winless Ivy seasons

James Perry ’00 was named the University’s 20th Head Football Coach Monday afternoon. This appointment follows the Nov. 19 departure of former Head Coach Phil Estes, who led the team for 21 seasons, The Herald previously reported. Perry played for the Bears from 1996 to 2000 and served as quarterbacks coach from 2007 to 2009. 

“The rest of the team (and I) are all very excited to play for James Perry,” said defensive captain Michael Hoecht ’20. “He’s a great coach, has an impressive resume and is going to do great things for this program.”

In 1999, Perry led the Bears to an Ivy League title as the team’s starting quarterback. His 3,225 passing yards and 27 touchdowns helped him earn Ivy League Player of the Year that season. In 2008, with Perry on the sidelines as the Bears’ quarterbacks coach, Brown won the Ivy League title again.

“I’m extremely pleased to welcome James Perry back to Brown as our head football coach,” wrote Director of Athletics Jack Hayes in a University press release. “James is a proven leader who has excelled in all aspects of his career — as a player, assistant coach and head coach. He has the determination and experience to lead the Brown football program back to the upper echelon of the Ivy League.”

Perry is taking over a team that finished last place in the Ivy League the past two seasons under Estes. Despite this losing streak, Estes was a three-time Ivy League Champion and is the second-winningest coach in Brown history with 115 victories.

After Perry finished his prolific career as Bruno’s quarterback, he served as the assistant quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Dartmouth, quarterbacks coach at Williams College and a graduate assistant coach with the University of Maryland football team.

In 2007, Perry rejoined the Bears as the quarterbacks coach under Estes and helped Brown win the 2008 Ivy League championship. By 2010, Perry was the offensive coordinator at Princeton, where he crafted an explosive offense that won two Ivy League titles in 2013 and 2016.

Perry earned his first head coaching job with Ocean State rival Bryant University in 2017.

In his two seasons with Bryant, the team averaged more than 30 points per game and posted consecutive 6-5 records.

Perry has been able to create quarterback-friendly offenses in many of his previous coaching positions. At Brown, Michael Dougherty ’09 became a top Ivy League quarterback during the 2008 championship run, finishing his career with the eighth most completions in the history of the Ancient Eight. In Perry’s seven seasons at Princeton, three of his quarterbacks were selected as Ivy League Players of the Year. This resume will prove helpful for Bears’ quarterback Michael McGovern ’21, who had a promising first season as a starter, throwing for the 39th most passing yards in the nation with 2,202 yards and eight touchdowns.

Perry’s “success at the schools he has coached is impressive, and the Brown community should be excited about him coming back home,” McGovern said. “Personally, I’m very much looking forward to being coached by a (former) Brown quarterback, especially one who had the success that he had.”


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