MSU leaders react to George Perles death


MSU Head Men’s Football Coach Mark Dantonio

“Coach Perles exuded confidence, conviction and toughness. He really gave his life to Michigan State, all the way till the end. He welcomed me back to MSU when I first became the head coach here. Not many people have been in these shoes, but he was one of them, and was always extremely supportive every step of the way. He was someone you could lean on. Many times over the past 13 years, he would speak to our team. George was one of the most renowned coaches in America; everybody knew who Coach Perles was and what he brought to the game. He had tremendous success, winning the Rose Bowl and two Big Ten Titles and developed countless NFL players. I first got to know his reputation when I was a graduate assistant at Ohio State. He always brought a blue-collar mentality and really we’ve embraced a lot of things in our program over the years that came from him. He left a legacy and was an impactful figure.”

MSU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Izzo

“George Perles embraced me from the moment I arrived at Michigan State. He showed me what it meant to be a Spartan, and how to be loyal. Throughout my career, especially as I was getting started, he was one of the people I consulted on any major decision I had to make.”

“Lupe and I send our deepest condolences to Sally and the entire Perles family. George is the truest Spartan I have ever met.”

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley

“My heart is with the entire Perles family. Former Trustee George Perles dedicated most of his life to service – service to our country and our university. From the classroom to the playing field, and athletic director to trustee, Mr. Perles embodied what it means to be a Spartan. The university is grateful for his decades of faithful service.”

MSU Board of Trustee Dianne Byrum
“This is a sad day for our Spartan family. George’s commitment to service and his passion for all things MSU are how I will remember him. Whether it was contributing to the success of our football program as head coach, guiding our athletics department to provide the very best for student-athletes or bringing his passion for this university – his alma mater – to the board table, George’s impact on this university will be long-lasting. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sally and the rest of the Perles family during this difficult time.”

MSU Board of Trustee Brian Mosallam
“George Perles promised my late mother he would take care of her son and make him a man by the time he left Michigan State University. He gave her son a kick in the rear when he needed it and a hug and advice when he sought it. 

“I will forever cherish the memories I have of Coach Perles both as a player and as a colleague on the MSU Board of Trustees. But I will mostly cherish the memories of our annual Christmas Eve family dinner tradition together in Detroit while he ran the Motor City Bowl. My late mother loved to cook for coach, and he loved her back.

Kellie P. Dean good friend of George Perles and owner of Dean Transportation

“We have lost a great Spartan. George Perles’s dedication and love for Michigan State University is unprecedented. I am eternally grateful to have known Coach Perles as a football player, community leader, and friend. Coach Perles’s lifetime dedication to providing opportunities for youth, particularly through his support of Michigan Special Olympics programs, was truly life changing for many. God Bless You, Coach Perles.”

John Shinsky, Former player under Perles and current Associate Dean for Community Impact at grand Valley State University

“I am so sad that we have lost another one of our great Spartan Leaders & Legend. George Perles was so much more than a coach to me and so many other players. He was a mentor, a true leader, and a coach that always had the best interest of his players at heart. He inspired us with his toughness, and touched our hearts with his kindness. I feel so blessed to have had Coach Perles as a Coach and a true friend.”

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