While Tildsley’s legacy is tough to match, Perry has an impressive basketball resume — and championship pedigree — of his own to go with his two MVC titles in three seasons as Golden Warrior football coach.
A star on the court at Andover and Colby College, Perry spent 12 seasons as head boys basketball coach at Salem, N.H., High, going 177-100 and winning two Class L titles. That after stints as head man at Malden Catholic (82-66 record) and Algonquin (16-5 record). He left the Salem job after taking the Andover football job.
“When I first came to football, I felt like there was a certain amount of time and organization I had to put in,” Perry, 48, said. “But once I got through that, I felt I could step up and take on other endeavors. I wouldn’t say I missed basketball, but I always enjoyed coaching it. I went to as many of the Andover girls basketball games as I could and seeing the passion that they play the game made me very interested. I felt like it was a perfect fit.”
The possibility of juggling football and basketball seemed more possible following a conversation with Mike Redding, who is head coach in both football and girls hoops at Mansfield.
“I was at a conference (game) in late April and Redding was getting an award,” said Perry, who teaches at Andover’s West Elementary School. “He talked about how the two could work together. That really piqued my interest. Soon after, I called (Andover athletic director) Don (Doucette) and sent in my resume.”
Doucette was thrilled when he learned Perry was interested in the job.
“I know E.J. so much more as a basketball coach than a football coach,” Doucette said. “While I was a college basketball coach, I got to know E.J. through recruiting and camps. When I found out he was interested, then got to the point of being very interested, he became our sole focus and we knew he was right for the job.”