Jeff's Journal - #34

The title sounds mighty impressive: "Director of Football Operations." But what exactly does the job entail?

The man who now holds that title at Auburn, Jimmy Perry , says, "It's a lot of little jobs rolled into one."

Some of the duties include coordinating staff meetings, developing the practice itinerary, helping put together Auburn's travel plans and dealing with the NCAA. "I'm basically an assistant coach to Coach Tuberville," Perry tells the Journal. "Everything outside of X's and O's."

It was Perry's love of X's and O's and his reputation as one of Alabama's top high school coaches that caught Tommy Tuberville's eye in the first place. Perry led Lee High School, where he had worked for nearly 20 years as an assistant and head coach, to the 1999 6A championship game.

Three weeks before the 2000 season opener, Coach Tuberville offered Perry an opportunity to get into college football.  Jimmy jumped at the chance to become Auburn's first Director of High School and NFL Relations.

Last week, after four seasons on the plains, Coach Perry was promoted to his new position.

Perry says he's "tickled" to be working at his alma mater. Especially with the timing of his move to Lee County.  It coincided with his daughter Jana's enrollment at Auburn.  "I got to go off to college with my daughter. That's a daddy's dream!" Perry says.

Had Perry remained at Lee, he would've missed his son Danny's high school football career because Danny played across town for St. James.  When the Auburn job came, Danny transferred to Auburn High.  Over the next three years, Jimmy rarely missed one of Danny's games.

Now, the younger Perry is a walk-on at Auburn, giving father a chance to keep a close eye on son. Jimmy says, "most college coaches hardly ever get to see their sons when they go off to play college football. I get to watch Danny practice every day."

Family has always been important to the Perrys. Never more so than in December of 1997, when Jimmy's brother Scott saved his life by donating a kidney to Jimmy.

More than six years later, Jimmy's health bill is clean.

"My kidney doctor says I will not die from kidney disease, and my heart doctor says I don't need to see you any more."

Add in the real "head coach" in the Perry family, Jimmy's wife Judy, and it's easy to see why Coach Perry sums up his story this way:

"I've been blessed!"

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  See you next week! God bless - Jeff