Past the End Zone – Lessons Learned from Four Decades on the Sideline

By Gehrig Parker | Posted 12/8/2020

In talking to football fans throughout Ohio, many different coaches, players and teams come to mind. It’s a state full of football history that only seems to get richer with each passing season.

And though not a Buckeye State football staple akin to Paul Brown, Woody Hayes or Massillon vs. McKinley, Ralph Perdrix is part of that history.

For the past 43 years, Cincinnati’s Golden Bears youth football team has underwent numerous changes, added schools and seen thousands of kids come through the program. But the one thing that has remained constant is Ralph Perdrix.

After playing high school football for Gerry Faust - who’d eventually go on to be the head coach of the University of Notre Dame - at Cincinnati Moeller H.S., Perdrix volunteered to join his older brother coaching the Golden Bears’ Varsity team comprised of seventh and eighth graders across several city parishes while continuing his own playing career at nearby Wilmington College.

Though his days as a player would come to an end after graduation, Perdrix would go on to coach within the same program at the same age level every fall through this year.

“It’s always been about the kids,” says Perdrix when pressed about what’s kept him motivated the last 43 years. “And there’s always been something about coaching kids at that age, seeing them mature and grow into the early stages of adulthood – they’re fun to be around.”

A number of those kids Perdrix coached went on to star in high school, college and even the NFL, with Carolina Panthers retired seven-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly headlining the list.

That list will only continue to grow as Perdrix led the Golden Bears to an undefeated record capped off by a Greater Catholic Youth League Division 1 Varsity Championship in his final season, a fitting ending for someone who has given so much of himself to others.

“The coaching is great but being a good person and pushing these kids to be better people, that’s what makes Ralph, Ralph.” Robb Foltz, Golden Bears Co-Coordinator, told Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV.

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone when Perdrix is quick to deflect the praise. It’s never been about him.

“Success, in large part, all stems from the consistency of the people who’ve helped me coach,” Perdrix said. “I’ve had a lot of different coaches with me throughout the years, and I’ve learned to delegate. They are the ones that make it happen.”

While he may be hanging it up, Perdrix has a couple more lessons to lend other youth coaches.

“Always stay the course,” he says. “The dynamics of what you do are continuously changing. You need to commit to working your way through it and learn when to bend and be flexible. If you stay the course, the kids are going to prosper.”

Next up for Perdrix is a move to the Sunshine State to enjoy his retirement in Florida. Lucky for the Golden Bears, they won’t have to quit the Perdrix family name as his nephew Jess is set to fill some big shoes.

“Coach Perdrix clearly has made an impression on generations of players over his 43 years of coaching,” said Bob Lyons, Executive Board Leader of the GCYL. “We thank him for creating the roadmap and support of the kids who played for him and the leaving the legacy of success that goes beyond winning games.”


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