‘Hoos Making a Difference’ honors Dr. Ray Perkins at JMU game

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

Dr. Ray Perkins, who played for George Welsh’s teams of the mid-1980s, will be the first honoree of the 2023 season in the “Hoos Making a Difference” program, presented by the Virginia Football Alumni Club.

Others to be honored at home games this season include: Jeremy Raley (‘97) on Sept. 22 (NC State); Tra Nicholson (‘16) Oct. 7 (W&M); Bill Copeland (‘77) Nov. 4 (Georgia Tech); Doug Parcells (‘75) Nov. 18 (Duke); and Chris Long (‘08) Nov. 25 (Virginia Tech).

Perkins, who grew up in Richmond and didn’t begin playing football until his sophomore year at Marshall-Walker High School, was a defensive tackle for Welsh’s Cavaliers, finishing up his UVA career in ‘87. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

He has served as assistant principal for athletics, activities and facilities at Tolleson Union High School, which has more than 2,000 students.

“I love seeing young people in their environment, whether it’s extracurricular or co-curricular,” Perkins was quoted in an article about his role at the school. “They notice, they want to have you at their events, and that is really cool.”

School principal Felipe Mandurraga said this of Dr. Perkins: “He connects with students on a different level, which brings a unique and dynamic perspective to our administration team. I have worked with many administrators in my career. Dr. Perkins is by far the best at interacting with students.”

It isn’t unusual to see former students return to the school and look up Perkins for conversation and to thank him for his work.

“Knowing that I had a chance to interact with that young person and hopefully I shared a golden nugget with them and they remembered and it could help them be successful in life,” Perkins said about keeping those relationships.