Monday, November 7, 2011
He touched the lives of hundreds of people as a coach, principal, teacher, administrator and as a person. He was also a good husband, parent, grandfather and friend to many.
Perdue’s battle finally came to a close Sunday at around 4:20 in the afternoon and while we are glad he is no longer in pain, the world is not nearly as good of a place as it was yesterday.
He moved to Heavener in the mid-1960s along with wife, Peggy, and sons, Ralph Jr. and Andy to take over as head football coach of the Wolves.
Perdue was the coach at Heavener from 1966-74 and while his record was only 36-50-4, he took over a program which was struggling in a difficult time to coach anywhere.
His second team upset defending state champion Talihina, which was undefeated at the time, and he was the last Heavener coach to lead the Wolves to a win over Poteau, winning over the Pirates in 1971-72.
He was an old school coach and teacher, but behind that rough exterior, all his players and students knew a jewel was hiding.
Perdue got out of coaching as his sons got old enough to play sports and umpired baseball and was later a football official.
After retiring from Heavener, he golfed, but only on days ending in “y”, and was a member of the First Baptist Church in Heavener and the Heavener Lions Club.
He was always a person I respected. Even as an adult, it was almost impossible to call him by his first name. It was still "Coach" or Mr. Perdue.
I remember as a young boy going to watch football practice. Coach Perdue and Coach Bob Riley were coaches then and they let the players know what needed to be done, and if it wasn’t done, that messaged was delivered in a simple fashion.
His sons Ralph Jr. and Andy are now two of my best friends. Another indication of how good Perdue was as a parent is both his sons are two of the best people around. Andy has followed in his father’s footsteps and is an assistant coach at Poteau.
He leaves behind his wife, Peggy, along with his two sons and wives, and four grandchildren.
Goodbye “Coach”, you will be missed.