Family comes first.
From an early age, that was a principle of life instilled in Greg Perry. As the men’s soccer coach for Massachusetts Maritime, it is a lesson he wants to share with his student-athletes.
Growing up in Bridgewater, Mass., sports were a large part of Perry’s upbringing. As the youngest of seven, he spent a lot of time kicking the soccer ball around with his older brothers. Throughout high school, he was active in both baseball and soccer.
When it was time to decide where to attend college, you might say his siblings already made for him.
“Westfield State was like a second home to me,” Perry said. “My oldest brother Mike played basketball there and is in their Hall of Fame. My other brother Steve played baseball for Westfield so from the time, I was four years old, I was traveling weekends during the winter and spring to watch my brothers play. It was all I knew. My brothers were both physical education majors and I wanted to be like so it all just fell into place.”
During his time with the Owls men’s soccer team, Perry was a four-time letter winner under head coach Jim Fonte’s leadership. The team would collect 45 wins and make two trips to the ECAC Tournament in both 1986 and 1987.
Although the team had success on the field, there was another aspect of being a student-athlete at Westfield that meant the most to Perry.
“Being a part of the family tradition was one of the most meaningful things about my time as a student-athlete,” Perry said. “My brothers were both captains and then I was one during my time. My sister began the cheering program there too.”
After graduation in 1989 with a degree in physical education, Perry went on to coach and substitute teach at different schools near his hometown. He was a soccer coach at Bridgewater-Raynham and Cardinal Spellman while also working with junior high women’s basketball and baseball.
In 1993, a simple meeting at Massachusetts Maritime would change the course of Perry’s career.
“I originally was recruited to play soccer and baseball at Massachusetts Maritime and the guy who recruited me set up a meeting with (former Athletic Director) Bob Corradi, Perry said. “We discussed me being the new soccer coach there. With a handshake, Corradi said you are going to stay here for four years and 26 years later, I am still here.”
Since first taking over the helm for the Buccaneers, Perry has amassed over 160 wins, including three MASCAC Coach of the Year accolades. In 2016, the team went 4-1-2 in the league and finished as the second seed in the MASCAC Tournament. Over the past six years, the Bucs have collected 19 All-Conference awards, including six during the 2016 season.
In recent years, the men’s soccer team has proven to be a force on the pitch, but that isn’t one of the things Perry treasures most about his student-athletes.
“I still keep in touch with those I played with at Westfield and now at Massachusetts Maritime, I have that bond here too,” Perry said. “Because of the military aspect of the school, there is a stronger bond here that most other schools. These student-athletes want to work hard in everything they do.”
While Perry isn’t serving as the Buccaneers assistant baseball coach or directing all the facility operations for athletics, he most likely is found with his grandkids. Coming from a family with 25 grandkids and 18 great-grandkids is a proud feeling for Perry. He also enjoys playing pick-up soccer with former student-athletes from Bridgewater State, Massachusetts Maritime and Stonehill to show he can still play.
With such a rich tradition of athletes in his family, it is no surprise that his coaching philosophy that he instills in his student-athletes during their time at Massachusetts Maritime puts family as the top priority.
“I tell my student-athletes that family comes first, school second and then soccer,” Perry said. “I want 100 percent out of them for all three. We expect that when you step out on the field, you give everything. That was preached to me by Corradi since I walked in the door and is what I preach to this day.”