Perry’s passing saddens Orono community

by Amanda Schwarze and  Blaze Fugina

The pioneer and The laker

Members of the Orono School District community are remembering Bob Perry as a dedicated coach and well loved man.

Perry, 51 of Independence, was head coach of the Orono Middle School track and field team. His athletes were waiting for him at the Orono High School stadium April 25 when he collapsed around 4 p.m. as he was walking to the practice.

The day after Bob Perry’s unexpected death, students painted his name on the Spirit Rock outside of Orono High School. (Pioneer staff photo by Amanda Schwarze)
The day after Bob Perry’s unexpected death, students painted his name on the Spirit Rock outside of Orono High School. (Pioneer staff photo by Amanda Schwarze)

“First responders were on the scene immediately,” District Director of Communications Gary Kubat said. “Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful at reviving him.”

For the past six years, Perry was the middle school track coach and for the past four years he had been an assistant football coach at Orono High School. During that time, he had affected the lives of many Orono students. The day after Perry died, students painted his name the Spirit Rock in front of the high school and the football team wore their jerseys as a tribute. The district also had a crisis team on hand that day to help support students, faculty and the community as needed.

Orono varsity track coach Justin McCoy said that Perry’s presence will be missed.

“It’s definitely a blow to any organization or team when you lose someone that has invested so much time and energy into the program. I think it hurts even more when that individual is loved so much as a coach. Almost all of my varsity athletes have had Bob as either a middle school track coach or have been a part of the high school football program. I think all my athletes have had some interaction with Coach Perry at some point. That goes to show how big of an impact he had,” McCoy said.

“Bob was a tremendous coach,” he added. “He found ways to make hard work fun; he always got the best effort and results from his student athletes. But what was most impressive about Bob was the way he interacted daily with students and the time he gave the athletes to make them better athletes and better people.”

Orono Athletic Directory Bucky Mieras had similar sentiments.

“Bob was one of the most committed coaches we had,” he said. “He always made sure the students were his first priority and he made sure he put their needs over his own. Whenever something needed to be done or needed supervision in the summer, Coach Perry was always there. His calm and caring approach to everyone was always noticeable, even in tough times. The kids loved him.”

In addition to being a dedicated coach, Perry was also a committed family man.

“Bob and Lisa are an outstanding couple that had an impact on the Orono community that you cannot describe,” McCoy said. “Both were in attendance of so many athletic events supporting their children and their school.”

Perry’s family and friends are also on the minds of Orono School District officials.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this beloved coach,” Orono Superintendent Dr. Karen Orcutt said. “Counselors, teachers and community have been sensitive and supportive to the children of Orono during this tragedy and great loss. The love for Bob Perry has been an overwhelming warmth in our school community that has surrounded us as we move through this loss.”


Contact Amanda Schwarze at [email protected]