Mr. Ronald S. Perry ranks as one of the finest athletes ever to play on the athletic fields of New England. He began his athletic career at Somerville High School where he excelled in both baseball and basketball. In 1949, as a high school junior, Mr. Perry helped lead Somerville High School’s basketball team to the New England Championship. On the court, their team attracted more interest at the Boston Garden than the Boston Celtics. In baseball, Mr. Perry took his Somerville High team to the state finals as a senior.
After graduating from Somerville High School, Mr. Perry attended the College of Holy Cross where he earned a degree in economics. As a student at Holy Cross, he played basketball and baseball earning the coveted title of All-American in 1952 and a spot in the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame. He is the only New England collegiate athlete to be a member of national championship teams in two major sports. Perry’s own collegiate athletic success is legendary. He co-captained the 1954 Holy Cross basketball team to the National Invitational Tournament title. Two years earlier, he helped pitch the Crusaders to the 1952 NCAA World Series baseball title. He was drafted by the Celtics in 1954 and signed with the Boston Braves after graduating from Holy Cross. However, a three-year stint in the Marines cut his pro-sports career short. While serving in the Marines, he was selected as the Armed Forces “Athlete of the Year” in 1957.
In 1958, Mr. Perry left the Braves training camp and went to work for Catholic Memorial where he was the first lay teacher hired by the Christian Brothers. As the Athletic Director, basketball and baseball coach at CM, he quickly brought CM’s basketball and baseball teams from division “C” to division “A” in just three years. He guided the basketball teams to three state championships, eight New England Catholic tournament titles and 10 consecutive conference crowns. In 1980, the Massachusetts High School Coaches Hall of Fame inducted Mr. Perry as one of the greatest coaches of all time. His overall record at Catholic Memorial School in 13 years was 292 wins and 34 losses.
While these accomplishments on the athletic field are extraordinary, Mr. Perry is being honored with the Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice Medal for his commitment to Catholic education and for his leadership as a role model to his students, players and fellow colleagues. He devoted his life to many young men at CM always leading by example, instilling discipline and the spirit of competition. During his tenure at CM, he brought honor, dedication, courage and fortitude to the School’s athletic and educational programs. Mr. Perry loved his job, the students, and his fellow coaches. He remained at CM until his return to Holy Cross because he loved the Catholic Memorial family almost as much as he loved his own.
Mr. Perry returned to his alma mater, Holy Cross where he served as Athletic Director from 1972 until 1998. The athletic program flourished under Mr. Perry’s guidance, growing from 10 to 25 sports programs. He guided Crusader athletics toward regional, as well as national prominence. He led the football team to a national ranking in nine of his 12 seasons. Under Perry’s direction, the basketball team made 11 post-season appearances in the NCAA and National Invitational Tournaments. Also, during Perry’s tenure, the hockey team made it to nine ECAC playoff appearances in 15 years. He also brought the women’s basketball team to a Division I standing and gained NCAA Tournament berths five times in 12 years.
Mr. Perry has long been one of New England’s most respected coaches and athletic administrators. The longest serving AD in Holy Cross history, Perry oversaw tremendous improvements in the College’s athletic program and facilities. He supervised the construction of the Hart Recreation Center in 1975, the refurbishing of the football stadium in 1986, and the addition of an eight-lane running track and lighted omniturf field in 1988.
In 1979, Mr. Perry was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ (NABC) Silver Anniversary All-American basketball squad, one of the NABC’s highest honors. In 1993 he served as the President of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), and numerous ECAC committees, such as executive council, finance and basketball awards. In 1997, the ECAC bestowed Perry with the Administrator of the Year Award at the Fall Convention and Honors Dinner. Not long after, in 2000, Perry received the James Lynah Distinguished Achievement Award presented annually to a maximum of four former ECAC athletic administrators who have achieved outstanding success in their career and have made an unusual contribution in the interest of intercollegiate athletics, the NCAA and the ECAC.
In his personal life, Mr. Perry’s wife of 59 years, Patricia, was also a beloved member of the CM faculty from 1969-1975 as an Assistant Librarian and as a freshman English teacher. His son, Ron Jr. is a CM alumnus from the Class of 1976. Mr. Perry’s oldest daughter, Maryellen attended Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Brighton, and his youngest daughter, Patrice attended Notre Dame Academy in Worcester. All three of his children followed in his footsteps, graduating from the College of Holy Cross. Mr. Perry has been blessed with 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, soon to be 6 in the spring or summer of 2020.Catholic Memorial School dedicated the Ronald S. Perry Gymnasium “The Ronnie” in his honor in 2012. The students that will pass through these gym doors will henceforth be inspired by his legacy of always striving toward greatness – a greatness that does not always come by winning on the playing field, but through dedication to the task at hand; and always accomplished with dignity and respect.