St. Joseph, MO – Legendary Central teacher and coach, Jim Perry, passed away late Sunday night. Mr. Perry coached for 37 years at Central High School in St. Joseph, MO, as an Assistant Football Coach (9 years), an assistant boys’ and girls’ basketball coach (25 years), and the head boys’ basketball coach (3 years). During his tenure as head coach, the boys’ basketball team won back-to-back District Titles in 1981 & 1982. Mr. Perry was the head boys and girls golf coach for 37 years at Central.

His golf teams were a consistent state powerhouse, and they won numerous district titles and advanced to the state tournament during several seasons. The boy’s golf team finished in the top four in the Missouri State Golf Championships 11 times and won three straight Class 4A state titles from 1992-1994. The girl’s teams placed in the top four at state, five different times.

Coach Perry is a member of the Central High School Hall of Fame, inducted with five different CHS teams, including the 1971 boys’ basketball team, which won 28 consecutive games. Also, the 1989 Girls basketball team and three State Championship boys golf teams (1992, 1993, and 1994).

Coach Perry left Central golf after 37 years to coach at Missouri Western State University. He spent 12 years as Missouri Western’s golf coach, and the Griffons became a near-constant in the MIAA Conference’s upper tier. The Griffons went to eight NCAA Central Region Championships in his 12-year tenure, including the 2005 tournament at St. Joseph Country Club. Perry’s 2006 team won the MIAA tournament championship. The golf championship is one of only two conference titles in MWSU program history.

Coach Perry’s explained his achievements and success, at Central and Western, to Ross Martin from the St. Joseph News-Press, upon his retirement in 2013, Perry concluded, “being in the right place at the right time and putting kids in the right place, I’ve had 49 years of it. I think it’s my time, and I’ve had a good run at it.”

Mr. Perry touched the lives of thousands of student-athletes over the years. Central High School, Missouri Western, his players, family, and friends will forever remember Coach Jim Perry.



  • Martin, Ross. “Perry retires after 49 years of coaching in St. Joseph.” St. Joseph News-Press, July 2013.
  • “Perry announces retirement after 12 seasons as griffons men’s golf coach and 49 years in the coaching ranks.” July 2013
  • Photo – St. Jospeh News-Press