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Andover's Perry tabbed as Merrimack College football coach
John Perry, associate head coach of UNH last year, is taking over the head coaching vacancy at D-II Merrimack.
John Perry’s first job as a head coach isn’t far from home.
The former Andover High All-Scholastic wide receiver was hired as Merrimack College head football coach on Jan. 4.
“The direction that the Merrimack College program is going in makes this an exciting opportunity for me,” said the former three-sport Golden Warriors star. “I am excited to build on what Merrimack has already created here.”
Perry, who was associate head coach at Division 1-AA power University of New Hampshire last fall, was named the fourth varsity coach in the 12-year history of the Merrimack program. He takes over for Jim Murphy, who finished 30-21 including a NCAA Division 2 Sweet-16 playoff appearance in 2006.
“John is a great fit for our program and for the college,” said Interim Athletic Director Joe Iarrobino, an Andover resident. “His many years as a successful coach and coordinator at the collegiate Division 1 level, combined with his excellent reputation and track record as a top recruiter of outstanding student-athletes, gives us the type of leader that we want here at Merrimack College.”
Perry, 38, did not discuss the specifics or length of his contract.
“This was a very difficult decision,” said Perry about leaving UNH, where he was an All-New England receiver.
The Merrimack position becomes the eighth coaching position for Perry since his graduation from UNH in 1992. Prior to last year’s stint at UNH, Perry coached at Hofstra (2006), Georgetown (2005), Dartmouth (2000-04), UNH (1997-99), Brown (1994-96) and Northeastern (1992-93).
A receiver during his football playing days, Perry caught at least one pass in 42 straight college games. He was captain his senior year and helped the Wildcats to the Division 1-AA playoffs in 1991.
“I’ll lay out my expectations, explain to them my vision,” he said, “and we’ll hit the ground running.”
He plans on bringing an innovative approach. Experience working with complex offenses and great athletes, including UNH’s Walter Payton Award-winning quarterback Ricky Santos will help.
“I see this as a long-term adventure,” said Perry, who now lives in North Andover with his wife, Jennifer, and children, Caitlin, 8, John Jr., 6, and Elizabeth, 4. “I’ll be there as long as (the administration) will have me.”
Andover’s Perry tabbed as Merrimack College football coach