Former Buccaneer Head coach Ray Perkins passed away Wednesday at the age of 79.
Perkins coached the Buccaneers from 1987-1990.
Before Coming to Tampa, Perkins coached the Alabama Crimson Tide for four seasons following the great Bear Bryant.
Perkins also played at Alabama as a wide receiver, then spent five seasons playing for the Baltimore Colts. Perkins was a member of the Super Bowl V champion Baltimore Colts and a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Before his tenure in Tampa, Perkins coached the New York Giants from 1979-1982, compiling a 23-34 record and leading the Giants’ first playoff appearance since 1963.
Perkins took on the task of replacing the legendary Bear Bryant at Alabama in 1983. Perkins led the Tide to a 32-15-1 record with four bowl appearances.
Perkins also had the distinction of coaching the Tide to its first losing season in 27 years as the Tide went 5-6 in 1984.
Alabama coach Nick Saban opened his press conference by sending condolences to the Perkins family. Saban added, “He served the University of Alabama with great class and integrity. He was a great coach and had a tremendous impact on the game. He was a good person and a really good friend.”
He also coached the New York Giants from 1979 to 1982, going 23-34. In the 1981 season, he led the Giants to the playoffs for the first time since 1963.
Perkins coached the Bucs from 1987 through 1990, going 19-41. Perkins was replaced by Richard Williamson, who went 4-15.
Perkins’s best years were 1988 and 1989, when he went 5-11 both seasons. Perkins was fired midway through the 1990 season with a 5-8 record.
It was Perkins who gave Bill Parcells his start in the NFL, taking on the coach from the Air Force Academy in 1979.
Parcells promptly quit due to family considerations, and Perkins hired Parcells back as defensive coordinator two years later. The rest they say is history.
In Tampa, Perkins will be remembered as the coach who traded quarterback Steve Young to the San Francisco 49ers. Perkins wanted the Heisman trophy winner from Miami, Vinny Testaverde, with the number one pick.
Perkins sent Young to the 49ers for a second and fourth-round draft pick and one million dollars. Young went to win a Super Bowl and became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Testaverde never became the quarterback that everyone thought he would. A career back-up, Testaverde played into his 40’s before retiring from the game.