John “Bird” Perry, Coach of Six National Championships Passed Away

Houston, TX – January 20, 2019 —

It is with great sadness to announce we have lost one of the greater contributors of our deaf basketball community. John “Bird” Perry, 47, passed away in Northern Virginia at 3:25 PM, January 15, 2019. Bird contributed as a player, coach, advisor and officer for EAAD regional chapter of USADB.

Following graduating from Annandale High School, Perry enrolled at Gallaudet University where he played four years for the Bison. Perry remained with the program after his playing days were over. He sat on the bench as an assistant coach for 15 years.

During his time away from his college coaching job he played Deaf Club basketball, starting with Frederick Stars. Perry was fundamentally sound player who used his coach’s acumen on the floor. Later he played with Northern Virginia (NoVa) for a short stint before moving on to the Maryland Stars.

In the latter parts of his playing career he took on the moniker player/coach only playing spot minutes when necessary. His gift was best known as a coach. He would assemble some of the most selfless groups of players who he knew wanted to be led.  Perry’s was equally competitive from the bench as he was as a player. Leading, NoVa and District, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) Diplomats to six national championships in a nine-year span, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, and 2018. He was voted Coach of the Tournament 3 times in 2010, 2012 and 2016.

If he wasn’t coordinating practices and local league participations he was at home with his family. He was a devout family man and did all he could to assure their happiness. Over the years he would step down from club ball and even briefly from GU citing family obligations. The hiatus didn’t last long. He was right back at it bringing his best players together to form a dynasty.

Perry was a true comrade who cared deeply for the basketball community and improving the competitive and administrational parts of deaf basketball. His pleasant, warm demeanor will be missed. His strategic authority of his squads will be forever remembered. He was a champion in all phases of the game both on the floor and off the floor.

Family, friends, former teammates, colleagues, former players, opposing coaches and the entire deaf basketball community wish John “Bird” Perry Godspeed. The basketball Gods receive another coach well prepared with open arms.  Written by Darnell Woods

If you would like help with meal arrangements for Dierdre and and her kids. Go to Take Them a Meal website. 

A wonderful Tribute article by Brendan Stern: What Bird Taught Me

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