Continued from page 1

“That’s all those girls do _ especially the 14-year-old,” Perkins said with a grin as he held up his smartphone. “And that’s all my players do. So it’s been good practice.”

Jones County President Jesse Smith said he met Perkins at a golf tournament a few years ago, and when the school’s football job became open, he was pleasantly surprised to find the coach’s resume on his desk. But there were still some reservations.

“Our main question was `Why in the world, having the career you’ve had, would you come to a humble place like this?” Smith said. “But coach Perkins was very convincing. Things began to line up and his personality really fits into this culture. He doesn’t meet a stranger. He has a great ability to make people feel special, and he’s not in here big-timing anybody. He’s probably the most secure person I’ve met _ he’s not an ego guy in any way.”

Smith said Perkins‘ arrival has been a boost for the athletic program, with alumni becoming more involved and ticket sales increasing. Perkins will make about $100,000 this season, and his contract can be renewed on a yearly basis. Though the job is certainly time consuming, it’s not necessarily all-encompassing like his time in the NFL and SEC. He still occasionally drives his daughters to school before coming to work and can even squeeze a round or two of golf into his schedule.

“Definitely a little more life balance,” Perkins said.

Perkins said his past has rarely come up during meetings with players or during practice. He figures if they’re that interested, the information is only a few clicks away.

“They know how to use Google,” Perkins said.

Jones County quarterback Ben Stevens admitted he didn’t have much of an idea who Perkins was when he was hired. But his dad and uncle filled him in quickly.

“I’ve heard he used to be a screamer, but I think he’s mellowed a little,” Stevens said. “He’ll get in your face and let you know when you’re doing something wrong. But he’s got a good balance and obviously a ton of insight into the game. We’re fortunate to be able to learn from him. It’s hard to believe he’s 70 years old.”

Perkins‘ age is often a topic of conversation considering 70-year-olds are usually collecting retirement, not starting a new career phase. He was coy about how long he plans to keep the job, though it’s obvious he doesn’t consider this a short-term gig.

“How about 20 years? Does that sound good?” Perkins said. “I don’t have a certain time frame. I really don’t. As long as we can be successful in guiding young people and win a few football games along the way, there’s no reason to stop.”

_____

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: (at)davidbrandtAP

.