SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley and Director of Athletics Bill Smith announced the hiring of James Perry as the next head coach of the Bulldog football program at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Elizabeth and Malcolm Chace Wellness and Athletic Center.
Perry, who has spent the past seven seasons as the offensive coordinator at Princeton University, becomes the third head coach in program history.
“We are thrilled to announce James Perry as the next head coach of the Bryant football program,” said Smith. “He brings with him a track record of success that includes four Ivy League Championships and has spent the last seven years turning Princeton into one of the most formidable offenses in the country. He runs a relentless style of football which will reinvigorate a program that is ready to take the next step towards becoming a champion.”
“We like to win in the classroom and on the field, and we are happy to have Coach Perry, a leader who understands this important goal,” said Machtley. “Throughout his career, he has delivered academic and athletic success at schools with high standards of accomplishment, and we know he will do the same for our student-athletes at Bryant.”
An outstanding quarterback during his playing days, Perry has instilled an offensive mentality of “Fast and Physical” football to each of his coaching stops. He has led Princeton to Ivy League titles in 2013 and 2016, coaching three All-Ivy League quarterbacks over the past four seasons and guiding the Tigers into one of the program’s most impressive offensive eras.
This past fall, Perry’s Tiger offense ranked atop the Ivy League in scoring (34.6 points per game), total offense (415.5 yards per game) and rushing offense (183.2 yards per game) on its way to the program’s second Ivy League Championship in four years. He guided quarterback John Lovett to a First Team All-America recognition in 2016 after the junior paced the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with a Princeton-record 20 rushing touchdowns. Lovett also became the second quarterback under Perry to win the Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League’s Offensive Player of the Year.
In the 2013 championship season, Perry guided the Tigers to a pair of Ivy League-record offensive trends, averaging 43.7 points and 511.6 yards per game. Perry’s unit finished second nationally in scoring offense, sixth in turnover margin and eighth in total offense. Under Perry’s tutelage, quarterback Quinn Epperly was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the 2013 Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in the FCS.
In total, Perry has coached 36 All-Ivy League offensive selections in his seven seasons at Princeton.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be the head football coach at Bryant University, one of the premier programs in the FCS,” said Perry. “I would like to thank President Machtley and athletics director Bill Smith for this opportunity. During the interview process, they made it clear that not only does Bryant offer a high-quality education and top athletic experience to its student-athletes, but also offers a great place for me and my family to live and be a part of the community.
“I look forward to guiding the program and to bringing a new energy to the way our student-athletes attack this great game of football.”
A 2000 graduate of Brown University, Perry is no stranger to the Ocean State, spending three years at his alma mater as an offensive assistant before joining the Princeton staff in 2010. He coached the quarterbacks and served as recruiting coordinator for the Bears, helping them win an Ivy League crown in 2008. Michael Dougherty thrived under Perry, graduating eighth all-time in league history with 487 career completions and 11th all-time with 5,763 career passing yards while also setting a still-standing Ivy League record for total offense in a game (538 yards in 2008).
Prior to his tenure at Brown, Perry made coaching stops at the University of Delaware (2006, running backs), the University of Maryland (2004-05, offensive graduate assistant), Williams College (2002-04, quarterbacks/recruiting coordinator) and Dartmouth College (2001, quarterbacks/wide receivers assistant). While at Delaware, Perry helped shape the Blue Hens into a I-AA leader in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense.
As a quarterback at Brown, Perry led the Bears to the 1999 Ivy League Championship, finishing the season with 3,255 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. He was named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award and was the recipient of both the Bulger Lowe Award as the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year in New England and the New England Football Writers Gold Helmet of the Year. He was a three-time First Team All-Ivy League pick and earned the 1999 Ivy League Player of the Year.
In addition to his numerous accolades, Perry set virtually every school and Ivy League passing record during his playing career. He graduated as the all-time leader in total offense in a career (9,236), passing yards in a career (9,294) and season (3,255), completions in a career (789) and season (309), and touchdown passes in a career (74) and game (6), still holding the Ivy League mark in the final three. Perry threw for over 400 yards in a game seven times in his career.
Following his collegiate career, Perry spent the 2001 season playing professionally in NFL Europe and the Arena Football League.
A native of Andover, Mass., Perry graduated from Brown with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and went on to earn a Master’s in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Maryland in 2006. He attended Malden Catholic High School in Malden, Mass., where he was named the 1996 Boston Globe Massachusetts High School Athlete and Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
He and his wife, Abby, have two sons, Samuel and Nathaniel, and a daughter, Rosemary.
Bryant University is a member of the Division I Northeast Conference and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).