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Doyt Perry Print E-mail

"I don't believe I can name a coach, anywhere, anytime, anyhow, who did it better than Doyt Perry."
-1955 BG Assistant Bo Schembechler

Doyt Perry - BGSU Athletic Archive When one thinks of Bowling Green football, and perhaps Bowling Green athletics in general, the first name to come to mind is Doyt L. Perry. Born on January 6, 1910, his life began just months before the university was founded. He was a member of the Falcon football team from 1929-31 (compiling a 13-3-7 record over that span), while also captaining the baseball and basketball teams in 1931-32, Perry put his mark on the university long before his legendary work on the sidelines ever began.

Perry took his degree in Secondary Education received from the university, and began teaching (and coaching) at Lorain Clearview High School in 1933, before taking a similar position at Upper Arlington High School near Columbus. His high school coaching career ended when he took an assistant coaching job under Woody Hayes at Ohio State, building a lifelong friendship with Hayes and future Michigan coach Bo Schembechler.

He returned to Bowling Green in the fall of 1955 to take over the reins of a program that had completed just one winning season in the previous six, winning only three of 15 games in the previous two seasons. He wasted no time getting the program on the right track, finishing the 1955 campaign with a 7-1-1 record, with a 7-0 loss at Miami University keeping the Falcons from a MAC title.

Doyt Perry - BGSU Athletic Archive Miami would continue to be Perry's achilles heel the next three seasons. While a touchdown return of a blocked kick salvaged a 7-7 tie with Miami in 1956, that was the lone blemish on an otherwise unbeaten season. Only one other team had come within two touchdowns of the Falcons that year, as they finished the season at 8-0-1, and as MAC champions as well. In 1957, it was the same story. The Falcons hosted Miami following back-to-back wins over rivals Toledo and Kent State, but again lost a tight ball game, 13-7. Bowling Green would finish the 1957 season with a 6-1-2 record. Following an 8-7 loss to Kent State on October 25, 1958, the Falcons again met their rivals from Oxford, and this time lost by the widest margin yet, 28-14. Those were the only two losses on the year. Through his first four years as the head coach at Bowling Green, Doyt Perry had lost four games; three of them were to Miami.

The next season would change all of that, and in a big way. Miami again fell on the schedule after games against Toledo and Kent State, and just like three of the first four years, Bowling Green was unbeaten. In fact, the closest game of the season was a 14-0 win over Dayton on October 3, and three of the other four opponents didn't even come within 30 points of the brown and orange. After finally beating Miami, at home, by a 33-16 final, the Falcons dispatched of Southern Illinois, Delaware and Ohio University in November, and were crowned the 1959 College Division National Champions.

The next season saw the Falcons with a chance to defend their national title, jumping out to a 5-0 start, including wins over rivals Miami, Toledo and Kent State. The next week, the Falcons upped their record to 6-0 with a 50-6 win over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but the joy of a seventeenth straight victory was short-lived, as news reached the Bowling Green campus that the plane taking the Cal Poly team back to California had crashed at the Toledo airport, killing 22, including 16 members of the Mustang football team. Bowling Green would lose a home game to Ohio University two weeks later, snapping their winning streak at 18 games, and ending their hopes for a second consecutive national title. Instead, the Bobcats' win at Bowling Green earned them the mythical title.

Doyt Perry - BGSU Athletic Archive The 1961 team got back on the title track, finishing the regular season with an 8-1 record in the regular season, and even another loss to Miami couldn't keep them from their third MAC title. The end of the season saw another first for Falcon football, as they flew to California to take part in the Mercy Bowl against Fresno State, a game created to assist the survivors and victims families of the Cal Poly plane crash the year before. While the Falcons lost the game 36-6, over $170,000 was raised for the charity.

The Falcons would repeat as MAC champions in 1962, with a tie at Miami and a non-conference road loss to West Texas State the only marks on a 7-1-1 record, and finish 8-2 in 1963, with the only losses that season coming to familiar foes Ohio University and, again, Miami University.

The next season would be the last on the sidelines for Perry, and he went out with a bang. His Falcons again flirted with perfection, taking an 8-0 record into the November 14 game with Ohio University, but the Bobcats held Bowling Green scoreless, beating the Falcons 21-0. BG would finish the season at 9-1, outscoring their opponents 275 points to 87.

Perry would serve the athletic department for six more years, taking over for legendary basketball coach Harold Anderson as athletic director until 1970. His final coaching record stands at 77-11-5 over his 10 years at Bowling Green, and his .855 winning percentage goes down as one of the top five in college football history. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

He died in Bowling Green on February 10, 1992, and on September 26 of that year, the university honored him by naming the football stadium "Doyt L. Perry Stadium".

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