Roy Perkins, former Tucson High track star, longtime local football coach, passes away at 66

Roy Perkins, a standout track athlete at Tucson High in the 1970’s, and a longtime local football coach with stops that included Desert View, Tucson and Cienega, has passed away from a sudden health issue at the age of 66.

Perkins, known as “Coach Perk” by his friends and coaching associates, is survived in his immediate family by his two sons Brandon and Austin, both of whom excelled on the football field in recent years.

Perkins’ wife Catherine passed away three years ago at age 61.

“We are all devastated by the news,” mentioned Cienega coach Justin Argraves, who leaned on Roy Perkins, a defensive backs coach on his staffs at Tucson High and with the Bobcats. “I had the honor of coaching alongside Perk for the past 13 years and considered him family.

“He was a tremendous person in all aspects of life. For him, coaching was about building up the young men and women he coached and seeing them successful in life far beyond athletics.”

Perkins coached at Desert View when Brandon attended school there and became a talented athlete in football, basketball, baseball and track. Brandon went on to play football at Pima College and Western New Mexico. He is now the defensive backs coach at Adams State after serving has a graduate assistant at New Mexico State.

Roy Perkins was an assistant coach in the last two decades at local high schools, including at his alma mater Tucson High (Tucson High photo)

While with the Aggies, Brandon coached his brother Austin, a former standout defensive back with the Badgers. Austin was with New Mexico State from 2015-19.

Roy Perkins’ cousin Don Perkins played eight seasons in the NFL and is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.

The loss of Roy Perkins is significant to Southern Arizona youth and high school football because of the impact he made on today’s youngsters and coaches at various levels.

“This is very sad nothing but respect for him as a father a mentor and coach,” Sabino offensive coordinator Sly Lewis mentioned in a social media post. “I always appreciate the words of encouragement. He will be missed. Rest in power Coach Roy Perkins.”

Empire baseball coach Jeffrey Strebing, who has also coached on the football staff at Cienega, mentioned in a Facebook post that Perkins was a tremendous man, not just a great coach.

“I followed him around Cienega’s field, always tried to learn as much as I could from him, whether it be football or Life!” Strebing wrote. “Loved listening to his stories about him coaching/raising his amazing boys to help me with my own! He was always doing something for the kids, always making sure every kid played even with the 75-man roster. He BELIEVED in every young man no matter their size/talent!”

Argraves, whose late father Mike Argraves touched the community as an adaptive physical education teacher and successful girls basketball coach, stated that he is taking with him as well how “Perk” related to people.

“The amount I learned from him (Roy Perkins) not just football related, but more importantly what it takes to be a great husband, father and friend, will remain with me the rest of my life,” Argraves mentioned. “Someone like Perk comes around once in a lifetime and I’m extremely grateful for the time we spent together.

“He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator seven years ago and is presently a special education teacher at his alma mater Sunnyside High School.

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