Trustee George Perles

  • 6153 W. Longview Drive
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 525-3794

George J. Perles, who was elected to an eight-year term on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater in November in his first campaign for public office, is a former Spartan football coach and athletics director, and has been the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Motor City Bowl since 1997. This year, the Motor City Bowl, which has become a Detroit holiday tradition and economic development generator, had a record attendance of 54,000-plus.

A Detroit native and graduate of the city's Western High School, Perles returned to MSU as head football coach in 1982, following a legendary coaching career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he coached and developed the famous "Steel Curtain" defense under Head Coach Chuck Noll, a defense that is universally regarded as one of the best — and rated by many as the best — in the history of the NFL. With the Steelers, Perles won four Super Bowl rings. In 1975, Perles was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

His 1983-94 career as MSU's head football coach was highlighted by two Big Ten titles and a Rose Bowl victory over Southern California. In 1987, he was named by Football News the College Coach of the Year, national Coach of the Year by the Columbus Touchdown Club, and Big Ten Coach of the Year. He is the recipient of the Duffy Daugherty Football Award, named after his beloved college coach, mentor, and friend and given to a distinguished Spartan alumnus. He also was named by the Detroit News a Michiganian of the Year, a select group of citizens whose achievements and contributions have had statewide impact.

From 1990-1992, Perles served as Director of Athletics at MSU. During those years, the football team was Big Ten co-champions, the men's basketball team twice was in the NCAA tournament, and the hockey team was in the "Frozen Four."

An Army veteran, Perles received his bachelor's degree from MSU in 1960, and a master's degree in educational administration in 1961.

Cited often for his entrepreneurial leadership in public service activities, Perles is especially known for his long-time association with the Special Olympics, for which he has created and hosted a highly successful golf-outing fund raiser since 1987.

He has served on the Board of Blue Cross and the selection committee of the Hula Bowl. He is a contributor to the Harris Interactive College Football Poll. In 2006 he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Perles and his wife Sally are the parents of four children, Kathy, Terry, John, and Patrick; they have six grandchildren.