, Salem, MA


August 23, 2010

The Master From Maine

Perrone restored the pride to Salem to become one of the Witches' all-time greats


Salem didn't rebuild, they reloaded — often times with stronger bullets.

Offensive mastermind

It was ex-Colby College coach and athletic director Dick Magee who turned Perrone onto football and gave him his first job coaching the freshman team at Lawrence High in Fairfield while he was still a senior at UMaine.

Perrone put his creative mind to work, designing plays and various offensive formations that he would later become famous for at Salem. He was meticulously organized, a master of preparation and a firm believer in the philosophy that practice makes perfect. "Run it again" was his favorite phrase during practice, according to Marcoulier.

"He could do what he wanted in terms of offense because he didn't really grow up with football (due to a childhood injury), so he kept what worked and scrapped what didn't," said Marcoulier. "Besides our base offense (Stack-I), we had 12 or 14 other formations (at Salem). Some weeks we would run five or six formations, then the next week it would be something completely different."

He was innovative, whether it was two-platooning his lineman, short counts, motions or the unbalanced line, Perrone's offense had more misdirection than a David Blaine show and made him one of the craftiest play-callers in North Shore football history.

"He definitely cast some spells on some defenses," said Stellato. "He had the whole Witch thing going; he had that swagger. The Salem history is unbelievable and he embraced it to the fullest."

One of Perrone's biggest strengths was allowing his assistants the space and freedom to work within the system. In fact, Perrone's core of assistant coaches were at Salem almost the entire time he was. Giardi was on the staff every year except Perrone's last (a season he missed due to health issues) and Wilbur came aboard in '75 and coached through '94. To this day Wilbur still gets a birthday card from the man he calls his mentor.

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