Dec. 5, 2008
KINGSTON, R.I. - The New England Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the creation of the Ronald S. Perry New England Basketball Legend Award, which will be presented at each New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony to an individual who, in demonstrating uncommon basketball excellence, has made an extraordinary contribution to the sport in the New England region. The first recipient of the award will be former Holy Cross student-athlete and athletic director Ron Perry (Class of 1954), for whom the award will be named.
"Life has been very good to me," Perry said. "I am humbled to be honored at this time in my life with this special award given in my name by the New England Basketball Hall of Fame."
In selecting Perry as the namesake of the award, the New England Basketball Hall of Fame executive committee made note of his remarkable achievements in many areas of the sport. The committee determined that Perry, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 2002 as a high school coach, would have also qualified for induction for his accomplishments as a high school player, collegiate player, collegiate administrator or high school / intercollegiate basketball referee.
Perry became a legend as a schoolboy star for Somerville High School before joining Holy Cross in the early 1950s. While at Holy Cross he accomplished a feat no other Crusader, nor New England athlete, has accomplished before or since - he won national championships in two sports. In 1952, he pitched the Crusaders to the NCAA World Series Championship - the only New England school to ever win that title - and compiled a 23-2 career record on the mound. On the basketball court he twice earned All-East honors and co-captained the 1954 Crusader squad which won the NIT. He was drafted in both sports upon graduation.
His success on the court extended to his coaching career, as he posted an amazing 292-34 record as the head coach of Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Mass. While at Catholic Memorial, Perry's teams won a pair of state championships, eight New England Catholic tournaments, and 10 consecutive conference titles. In 2003, he was honored as the Catholic Memorial gym was named the "Ronald S. Perry Gymnasium."
In his three decades as Holy Cross athletic director, Perry guided Crusader athletics toward regional as well as national prominence. He was an integral part of building the Crusader women's athletics programs, oversaw the construction of the Hart Center, and saw numerous teams compete in the NCAA tournament.
"The entire Holy Cross community extends its congratulations to Ron Perry on the occasion of this well-deserved award," said Holy Cross president Fr. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., "Ron has served Holy Cross in an extraordinary way, first as a student-athlete, winning national championships in two sports, then as a distinguished alumnus and as athletic director for many years, during which our athletics program grew and flourished. He continues as a valued member of our community, admired for his thoughtfulness, kindness and class, as much as for his accomplishments."
"I was always told that I was in the right place at the right time," Perry said. "Surrounded by talented people and then great things seemed to happen."
In 1979, the National Association of Basketball Coaches bestowed one of its highest honors on Perry, when it named him to the Silver Anniversary Basketball Team - a team selected annually to recognize outstanding student-athletes from 25 years earlier who went on to distinguish themselves after their collegiate careers. Only Perry and Bob Cousy (Class of 1950) have been so honored at Holy Cross.
"Ron Perry's incredible proficiency in so many basketball related areas is almost unprecedented, not only in New England but in the United States," said Dan Doyle, founder and director of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. "The executive committee has decided to not only present the inaugural Legend Award to Ron, but to name the award in his honor."
At the inaugural New England Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony in 2002, fellow inductee Calvin Murphy - an NBA Hall of Famer - devoted significant time in his acceptance speech to crediting Perry as an early and important mentor in his life. "The executive committee recognizes that Ron's positive mentorship has benefited literally thousands of other student-athletes as well," Doyle said.
The award will be presented to Perry at the October 9, 2009, ceremony in Kingston, R.I.