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Brains and basketball collide: Appreicative coach eager to give back to kids, coaches


Medical professionals and basketball. One helped keep Wayne Perry alive and the other is the metaphorical lifeblood of the 34-year old Hudson boys basketball coach.

A man full of passion and gratitude, Perry has made it his mission to combine the fields into a meaningful experience for those in the coaching fraternity this Saturday, at what he hopes is the first annual “Brains and Basketball Coaches Clinic.” 

With college coaches and basketball wizards from all over the region set to speak at the Hudson High School gym, Perry hopes to use all of the proceeds from the event to start the Brains and Basketball Scholarship, which will be made available each year to a Lenawee County varsity basketball player (male or female) who wants to pursue a degree in the medical field.

On Jan. 23, 2009 Perry suffered a brain hemorrhage while coaching against Blissfield, without any symptoms or forewarning.

Six days later Perry underwent a life-saving, four-hour brain surgery to repair five hemorrhages caused by dural arterial fistula, an abnormal connection between arteries and veins that causes blood to leak.

“There have been a lot of people in surrounding communities who have stepped up and helped me out when all this went down. I just thought it would be kind of a neat idea as far as being a coach…..and to just help someone out in the medical field, considering all the help people in that field have given me,” Perry said. “Coaches have stepped up and been really supportive through this whole thing, so I’d like to try to give back to some of them as well.”

He said the last nine months have been “absolutely crazy” and the University of Michigan Medical Center has been magnificent in the recovery process, while local coaches and athletic departments have provided various forms of assistance every step of the way.

Perry said Hudson’s closest rivals on the court were some of the first to reach out and help, proving the reach of athletics often outlives the final whistle.

“Hudson and Onsted is a pretty big rivalry as you might know. And the athletic director and coaches over there did a thing when we played them, but I was still in the hospital,” he said. “They had all the proceeds from their half-court shootout at halftime go to me, and I think they gave us something like $250. I think their boosters donated some of that fund as well, and it’s all just pretty special when you see something like that.”

With that kind assistance being the norm during this life-changing experience, Perry said he’s looking forward to giving back.

The clinic, which is open for all levels of coaches from recreation league teams to college squads, will start at 9 a.m. in the Hudson High School gym and the list of speakers set to appear is quite impressive: NAIA Hall of Fame Coach Fred Smith, Mike Howe of the D1 Sports Academy, basketball analyst Stan Joplin, Spring Arbor University men’s basketball coach Ryan Cottingham, Siena Heights University men’s basketball coach Al Sandifer, Adrian College men’s basketball coach Mark White, and Jackson Community College women’s basketball coach Andy Hoaglin.

The cost of the clinic is $40 per coach which includes a coaches notebook and lunch.

The first 50 coaches to pre-register will also receive a ticket to a Detroit Pistons preseason game.

Perry said he’s gone to a number of different clinics over the years, including a University of Michigan one run by former Wolverines head coach Tommy Amaker and current U of M head coach John Beilein, and he personally uses them to learn new coaching strategies, drills and maybe a few offensive sets.

The purpose of the clinic though is also to get the Brains and Basketball scholarship up and running for this year.

“My goal is to do a $500 scholarship every year,” Perry said. “I’ve had 10 or 12 sponsors that helped out with the costs leading up to (the clinic), so right now I’m breaking even and everything that the coaches pay to come will be a profit to the scholarship fund.”

As charitable as people have been to Perry’s family sine January though, it isn’t helping him fill up spots at the clinic.

“That’s the frustrating thing. Right now I don’t have a whole lot of coaches. I’m pretty excited about the lineup of speakers and everything else that is taking place, I just haven’t had a whole lot of phone calls. I don’t know how many coaches really know a whole lot about it though,” he said. “If I could get 50 coaches I’d be pretty darn happy. I’m just excited about the lineup of coaches and speakers I have coming though.”

To pre-register or for more information please e-mail hudsonnbball@yahoo.com or contact Wayne Perry at 517.448.8950.

Registration begins at 8:30 am on Saturday September 26th for those who don’t pre register.

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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