HANOVER, Ind. -- After nearly 40 years of service at Hanover College, current Hanover men's and women's golf and former Panther football coach, Wayne Perry, has announced his retirement.
Perry has coached and mentored thousands of Hanover College student-athletes since arriving on campus as an offensive line coach for the football squad in 1979. His inaugural year also saw him head the track & field program and coach as an assistant for the men's basketball team. The 2017-18 season marked Perry's final year as he guided both Hanover golf teams to top three finishes at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
"Retiring seems bittersweet. I know it is time, but I still love my job," said Perry on his tough decision to retire. "Thirty-nine years is a long tenure coaching at one school. Hanover has been good for my family and I have always been proud to tell people I coach there.
"With the school's great academic and athletic reputation, it has been an easy sell for me. My daughters are graduates of Hanover College and that education prepared them for their future."
Ultimately, family became one of the main reasons for Perry decision.
"There are two reasons why I knew this was my final year. First, family and second, thinking about the future of the golf programs. I would like to spend more time with my family and for my granddaughter's spring events. Also, the golf programs have come a long way while winning 52 tournaments and 50 second place finishes, along with five national tournament appearances, but they need that extra push to get over the hump."
Since taking over the Hanover golf teams, Perry has guided the women's program to all five of its NCAA Division III National Tournament appearances, including four straight years from 2013 through 2016. Perry has six conference championships as the head golf coach at HC, five on the women's side and one for the men back in 1986.
On the sidelines of formerly-known L.S. Ayers Field, and now C. Wayne Perry Field, the long-time coach guided the Panthers for 26 seasons. Perry's gridiron squads posted a 174-88-2 record, along the way amassing eight conference championships (1989, 1994, 1995 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003), nine appearances in the national playoffs (1984, 1989, 1994, 1995 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003) and each of the school's four 10-win seasons (10-0 in 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2002). Perry became the winningest coach in Indiana collegiate football history with a 41-35 overtime victory against Mount St. Joseph (Ohio), Oct. 1, 2005. With the win, he surpassed Butler University legend Tony Hinkle, who totaled 165 wins in 32 seasons with the Bulldogs.
"The contributions that Wayne Perry has made to Hanover College athletics cannot be summed up in one or two sentences," stated HC's Director of Athletics, Lynn Hall. "For almost 40 years, Wayne has been a fixture in the athletic department. His success first as a football coach and later as the men's and women's golf coach have made him legendary.
"He has transformed thousands of young men and women on and off the field of play. Wayne's positive impact to the College as a coach, mentor and role model will be sorely missed. This is an end of an era in Hanover College athletics."
Current Panther head football coach Matt Theobald added, "Coach Perry is Hanover Football. He created a unique culture of winning in the classroom and on the field, and did it at the highest level from the early-80's to the mid-2000's.
"His legacy is not only what he did on the field in terms of wins but more importantly the great men he helped create along the way. I know he was like a second father to me and many others who walked the Quad at the College."
Overall, in his time at Hanover, Perry was named to 23 Coach of the Year honors by conferences and regions. He was also named the National Football Foundation Man of the Year in 2008, garnered the Sagamore of Wabash award, named Madison's Favorite Son and given the key to the city. Perry finished with 14 total conference championships as a head coach, ranking second in school history, behind only Glen Bonsett's 15.
The interactions with students and colleagues are what Perry said he will miss the most.
"I will miss the daily contact with the players and fellow coaches," said Perry. "It has been great to see the student growth from year to year. I love it when former students and coaches call and tell me how much their experience at Hanover has meant to them and their jobs and families.
"I will miss the daily routine, the people that have made my time at Hanover a positive experience, the competitive nature of the job and of course the thousands of athletes and coaches that have touched my life.
"Hanover has been a great asset to my life and I owe a great deal to this institution."
Contact: Tyler Jester