Michael Perry was released as head coach on March 4, 2007. with a final 62-75 head coaching record.
Perry had received a four-year contract extension in the spring of 2005 and terms of that agreement will be honored.
For the past 10 years, Perry was a major catalyst in the growth of the basketball program that has risen to heights never seen before at Georgia State.
This season ended with a final 11-20 record and a win in the opening round of the CAA Tournament over William & Mary before a loss to VCU.
The 48-year young tutor’s overall coaching record is 62-75. Factor in his 6-1 mark as the bench coach when Coach Driesell was out and Perry has 68 wins.
In 2005-06, the team made the transition one-year early into the CAA, a league that was No. 8 in the nation (just behind the Pac-10) and a league that had a team advance to the Final Four (George Mason). Georgia State lost to George Mason in Overtime in the CAA Tournament in Richmond, nearly keeping that national news story from ever happening.
The Panthers of Perry had one of the toughest schedules in the nation, losing to 10 teams in the Top 50 and 16 teams in the Top 100 of the 334 Division I schools. In the CAA opener, Georgia State crushed Delaware, 99-72, to make the inaugural game memorable for the home fans. State also made its debut in the CAA Tournament a happy one with a win over No. 7 seed Towson to advance to the second round versus George Mason.
In 2004-05, his Panthers finished with a run of eight wins in 11 games in January-February and a 14-14 regular season mark to earn a conference tournament spot. Coach Perry led the team to wins over NCAA tournament teams Louisiana Lafayette and UCF.
His up-tempo team was No. 10 in the nation in three-point baskets made in 2004-05. His non-conference schedule was the 17th toughest in the country with games against four teams in the top 30 and two who made the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
In 2003-04, Perry guided the team to an impressive 20-9 finish with Top 50 rankings in four different categories. And, as most coaches have to do, Perry overcame injuries, suspensions, and problems to find solutions to win.
In 2003-04, Georgia State had two seven-game winning streaks and knocked off four teams ranked in the Top 100 RPI. The Panthers led the A-Sun in both field goal percentage and free throw percentage while setting a new school record for assists. They were also successful on defense with a conference-best 29.6 percent three-point defense and second-best 41.9 percent overall FG defense. The team blocked more than 100 shots for a seventh consecutive season and had a +2.3 rebound advantage on the boards.
Perry was promoted from associate head coach to head coach on Jan. 3, 2003, when “Lefty”
Driesell announced his retirement. He had joined the staff as an assistant with Driesell in 1997.
In these 10 years with Perry’s contributions, Georgia State has won 165 games (an average 16.5 per year) with one NCAA appearance (Final 32 in 2000-01) and one postseason NIT appearance (2001-02).
The Panthers with Perry on the bench have earned three regular season conference championships and one conference tournament title. The 20-win season in 2001-02 marked the first time for back-to-back 20-win seasons in school history and they now have three 20-win seasons in the past five years.
After taking over the 4-6 team on Jan. 3, 2003, Perry guided the Panthers to a strong 10-9 finish with four tough overtime games. Perry led the team to an opening round conference tournament upset over North Division champion Belmont before bowing out to eventual NCAA-bound Troy State in a thriller to the closing minutes. Wins in 2003-04 came over 20-win teams like UCF (NCAA bound), Troy State (NIT bound) and Belmont (NIT bound) as well as wins over Auburn, Tulsa and South Alabama.
The team hit a school record 21 three-point baskets in a 2001-02 game that ranked as the ninth most in NCAA history for a single game.
Coach Perry At Georgia State
In March 1997, Perry was at the Final Four in Indianapolis, in a hotel room with then Georgia head coach Tubby Smith and some other Richmond-area friends watching TV when he saw that “Lefty” Driesell had just taken the job at Georgia State. Perry got word that “Lefty” Driesell was looking to talk with him and they met the next day in the hotel lobby and went and had a sit-down interview. Driesell asked Perry to fly back to Atlanta after the Final Four and meet the other folks at Georgia State.
Perry then became an inaugural member of Driesell’s first staff at Georgia State for the 1997-98 season. Driesell had been fully aware of Perry’s recruiting and coaching skills after their battles in the CAA. Driesell’s James Madison teams and assistant coach Perry’s Richmond squads were constant challengers for first place and postseason bids in that conference from 1994-97.
By 2000-01, Perry had become the top assistant on the staff and played a lead role on the record-setting NCAA 29-5 Panther team. The well-prepared Perry stepped up to coach from the bench for six games while Driesell stayed home from road trips following mid-season neck surgery. The team posted a 5-1 record and won the Hawaii Nike Festival over two eventual NCAA tournament teams.
The 29-win team in 2000-01 posted the third most wins in the nation (behind Duke and Stanford) due in large part to Perry’s contributions. As a reward for his success, Perry was named Associate Head Coach in the summer of 2002.
Before accepting the head job at State, Perry had been a finalist for the head coaching job at Middle Tennessee State University in the Sun Belt and had also interviewed for an assistant job at Oklahoma with Kelvin Sampson. Both were aware of his successes in building the Georgia State program and knew he was ready to be a head coach.
Perry’s former knowledge as a post player helped him coach Panther forward Thomas Terrell to Atlantic Sun Conference Player-of-the-Year and honorable mention All-American recognition in 2001-02. In 2002-03, he helped 6-11 Nate Williams earn first team All-Conference recognition and lead the A-Sun in scoring. In 2004-05, forward Marcus Brown earned first team All-Conference honors to add to the group.
Perry’s Assistant Coaching Career Before Georgia State
Michael began his coaching career in 1983 when he joined the Virginia Union staff where Dave Robbins was building a powerhouse. Robbins, now with 27 years and 639 wins at Virginia Union, had been Michael’s high school coach and led that team to a state championship. Robbins’ influence led Virginia Union to Division II national titles in 1980, 1990 and again in 2004-05. Robbins has won seven regional titles and 13 CIAA championships. Two of Robbins’ prize pupils are current NBA rebound leader Ben Wallace and 18-year NBA vet Charles Oakley.
In 1986, Perry moved on to his alma mater, the University of Richmond, where he was the restricted earnings coach for veteran Dick Tarrant. Tarrant won 239 games in 12 seasons at Richmond with nine post-season berths.
The Spiders gained national recognition when they became the first No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 seed (Syracuse) in the 1991 NCAA Tournament.They also beat Georgia Tech in that run to the Sweet Sixteen. In 1988, as a No. 13 seed, the Spiders beat No. 4 seed Indiana. Perry became a full-time assistant with UR, then under Coach Bill Dooley, in 1994. For the next three years, Perry took on the challenges of recruiting, conditioning, scheduling, as well as putting together game plan strategy.
Camps and Acquaintances:
Working at summer camps while in college is where Michael Perry says he first considered a career as a coach. Watching the fruits of your labors with young, enthusiastic kids who wanted to succeed seemed like a worthwhile career challenge, the younger Perry thought.
Perry worked many summer camps, including the prestigious Five-Star Camp in Pittsburgh and “Lefty” Driesell’s camp at Maryland, and remembers a bunch of other hungry young assistant coaches like Tubby Smith (assistant at VCU from 1979-86), Oliver Purnell (assistant at ODU from 1978-85), Dave Odom (assistant at Wake Forest from 1977-79), Pete Gillen (assistant at VMI, 1976-78, then Villanova and Notre Dame), and Mike Sutton (assistantata VCU in 1981 and on Tubby’s staff later). All have gone on to head coaching jobs and are still head coaches this year (Smith-Kentucky; Odom-South Carolina ; Gillen-Virginia, Purnell-Clemson; Sutton-Tennessee Tech). Perry especially remembers one enjoyable summer riding back to Richmond from a Pittsburgh camp with Smith and Sutton.
Perry worked the Charles Oakley Camp for underprivileged kids in Richmond. He would go to the corporate sector of the area to raise funds for the camp that Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin and other NBA stars would attend. Oakley went to Virginia Union from 1981-85 and worked out with the older Perry. Perry had just graduated at Richmond when Oakley was a freshman . Oakley has gone on to be an NBA All-Star with more than 12,000 points and more than 12,000 rebounds over an 18-year career.
Perry’s Business Career:
Perry spent more than a decade in the business sector once he graduated from Richmond. He opted to start his own business at age 24 called Perry Machine Manufacturing Fabrication. Self-employed, he brokered and distributed machine shop and fabricating services throughout the area. He sold industrial equipment like power transmissions, rotors, bearings and the like to companies like Philip Morris, Reynolds Metals, Allied, as well as small businesses in Richmond.
He learned quickly that if you don’t produce results, you don’t get paychecks. One of his pet peeves is watching other employees in other jobs giving just 75 percent effort, not doing their best, and not knowing the difference or caring.
After seven years, Perry went to work starting Eikon Printing and Graphics Communication in 1990. In 1993, he became Vice President of Marketing for Choice Communications, the largest minority owned printing company at that time. But, all through his business career, Perry was keeping his hands in basketball and learning more about coaching.
Perry made his move full-time in 1994 to a coaching profession. The “dress for success” mantra caught on with Michael then and has stayed with him throughout. Recently, he was voted to the CollegeInsider.com poll’s “Best Dressed List” among college coaches.
Perry’s Basketball Playing Career:
On January 22, 2000, Perry was officially inducted into the Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame. The 6-5, muscular 215-pound Perry was a three-time team captain and leading scorer for four years for the Spiders of Richmond.
He was a 1981 draft pick of the Kansas City Kings (now Sacramento) after scoring a school record 2,145 points (19.8 per game). That has only been topped one time since he left (Johnny Newman). Perry played one year of semipro ball after Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons had cut him from the Kings.
Michael never missed a game in his four-year college career (108 played from 1978-81) and led the team to a 15-14 senior mark. His conditioning enabled him to set the school record for most game minutes played, career, as he averaged 36.06 per game over his entire career. His first year was with Coach Carl Sloan and his final three with Coach Lou Goetz.
Perry was a multiple All-Conference pick and was a Honorable Mention All-America pick. He was also a conference All-Tournament honoree. Michael was known as a defender, a slasher, a scorer and a dunker as he averaged 19.0, 18.3, 19.1 and 22.8 points per game, respectively, in each of his four seasons. He played in the Portsmouth Invitational pre-NBA camp.
Still a weight-room and conditioning devotee, Michael actually got letters from two NFL teams (Dallas and Seattle) asking about his interest in the NFL. A Cowboys scout told Michael he reminded him of Cornell Green, another former basketball player turned NFL player.
At Richmond, one of his teammates was Ukee Washington. Washington is now a news anchor for the noon and 5 p.m. news at KYW-TV (CBS) in Philadelphia. He moved to news after a 10-year sports anchor job there. Washington had begun as a sports reporter at WSB-TV here in Atlanta. Another of his teammates was John Schweitz (1979-82) who was a Celtics’ draft pick who went on to play with Seattle in the NBA. The 6-6, 210-pound Schweitz is now the head coach at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C.
Perry’s Spiders played regional teams like the University of Virginia (Ralph Sampson, Jeff Lamp), Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech along with the Colonial foes.
It was playing against Penn when Perry really got a grasp of teamwork. That Penn team made the Final Four in the era of the Magic-Bird match-up and did it with a cohesive unit working together to overcome stronger, faster foes. Michael received his college degree in real estate business.
Perry’s High School Career:
Perry began his basketball career as a two-time All-State Virginia player at Thomas Jefferson High for Coach Dave Robbins. Perry was the Richmond High School Player of the Year and one of the Nation’s Top 100 prospects.
The dominating high school player made his NCAA visits to Ole Miss and Clemson, as well as local schools Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth. He was recruited by Maryland through one of “Lefty’s” scouts Wil Jones. He had attended numerous summer camps.
But his high school coach, Dave Robbins, had reminded Perry the value of a support system for a student-athlete when he or she gets out of college. Who will be looking out for you and where can you use your name to make a career for yourself? So, Richmond won out based on life after basketball as much as for life with basketball.
Michael was born Nov. 10, 1958, in Oxford, N.C. He grew up in the capital city of Virginia (Richmond), raised with the strong support of his mother (Junita Mayo) and his grandparents (Ida and John Hawthorne) who are all deceased. His step-father, Willie Mayo, is still alive and lives in Richmond. The oldest of three children, Michael has one brother (Eric May) and one sister (Pamela Mayo).
Michael and his wife Darlene, also a Richmond native, have three children: daughters Rashawna (23) and Ashley (17), plus son Michael, Jr. (14). The family attends Faith Christian Center Church.
THE MICHAEL PERRY FILE CAPSULE
1985-86 Virginia Union assistant coach
1986-93 University of Richmond part-time assistant coach
1994-97 University of Richmond assistant coach
1997-2002 Georgia State assistant coach
2002-03 Georgia State associate head coach
2003-06 Georgia State Head Coach (51-55 career)
1986 NCAA Division II playoffs
1988 NCAA- #13 Beat Indiana, Beat Georgia
Tech, Lost Temple in Sweet 16
1989 NIT - Beat Temple, lost UAB
1990 NCAA- #14 seed - lost Duke
1991 NCAA- #15 seed- beat Syracuse, lost Temple
1992 NIT - Lost Florida
2001 NCAA - #11 seed- Beat Wisconsin, lost
Maryland 2002 NIT - Lost Tennessee Tech
2002 NIT - Lost Tennessee Tech
1983-90 Perry Machine Manufacturing Fabrication
1990-93 Eikon Printing and graphics communications
1993-94 VP, marketing - Choice Communications
What Successful Coaches Who Know Michael Perry Say:
Dave Robbins (Head Coach, Virginia Union, 600 career NCAA wins -Michael’s High School Coach)
“I can’t imagine a program under his guidance not being successful. He is a good, solid person who always will do what is right. Michael was an excellent player but an even better person. If you’ve played the game as hard and been as successful as he has, you know what to ask of your young men as a coach. He knows what it takes to be a winner and he knows how to get the kids to be their best.”
Kelvin Sampson (Head Coach, Oklahoma, National Coach of Year winner)
“Michael Perry is an excellent young coach. When you talk about coaching, you talk about dealing with young people. But besides that, coaches also deal with faculty and staff and people around the community. Michael has the integrity and character to do that. His character is beyond reproach.
Success is imminent with him. Georgia State is lucky to have Michael Perry as its head coach.”
Dave Odom (Head Coach, South Carolina,, National Coach of Year winner)
“Michael Perry is the perfect choice to take the Georgia State program forward. He has been successful as a player and as an assistant coach. Michael Perry understands the game, is an excellent teacher and cares for players as both student-athletes and as young men.”
Charles “Lefty” Driesell (Former Head Coach, 786 career NCAA wins, 22 20-plus win seasons)
“I groomed him for years to take over for me. He is more than ready and I know he will do a great job
for years to come. Michael is well-respected by the players and by his peers. He is a good Christian
man and an outstanding father to his kids. I have never even heard him curse. Michael Perry will be a good role model for Georgia State players. I wish him even more success than I have had. The fans of Georgia State should feel good about having Michael Perry leading the way.”
Orlando “Tubby” Smith (Head Coach, Kentucky,National Coach of Year winner)
“Michael Perry is one of the bright, young coaches in college basketball. I had the chance to coach against him at the University of Richmond and I have enjoyed watching him grow. He will do an outstanding job at Georgia State. After assisting ‘Lefty’ Driesell, Coach Perry understands what it takes to win.”
PERRY PLAYING CAREER:
High School : Two-time All-State player at Thomas Jefferson (Richmond,
Va.) and on State of Virginia and City of Richmond Championship teams.
College: All-Conference first team and honorable mention All-America pick and State 1981 player-of-the-year at Richmond. Never missed a game in four years (108), averaging school record 36 minutes played per
game. Set school record for scoring with 2,145 points (broken by Johnny Newman).
Honors: Drafted in 1981 NBA draft by Sacramento Kings.
Inducted into Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame