By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/26/20
The Philly lacrosse community is mourning the passing Friday of legendary coach Joseph Perrott, 84, who guided Penn Charter to four state championships in the the 1970s and ’80s.
Joseph, known as Joe, led the Quakers to the Avery F. Blake Memorial Trophy (lacrosse was only played in Southeastern PA at that time) in 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1983, his final year as head coach. He returned as a top assistant in the late 1980s after coaching at Harriton and helped PC win another state crown in 1989.
He guided Penn Charter to eight Inter-Ac League championships (three occurred before the league officially recognized lacrosse).
Joe starred at Lower Merion and at Williams College where he was the team captain and MVP his senior year. He was elected to the Eastern Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999. The multi-sport field at Penn Charter where he coached and won his titles is now known as Perrott Field.
After his college years, Joe played with the Connecticut Valley Lacrosse Club from 1961-1964 and with the Philadelphia Lacrosse Club from 1965-1975.
Joe began his coaching career at Kingswood School in Connecticut where he coached from 1961-64. His 1963 team won its league championship. He returned to Philadelphia to teach English at Penn Charter in the late 1960s and became head lacrosse coach in 1969. Joe, named to the school’s Athletic Honor Society in 1997, later became Dean of Students.
Joe was selected as the PSLA Coach of the Year three times. He was recognized by the USLCA Century Club for 100 wins. In addition to playing and coaching, Joe officiated college and high school lacrosse from 1965-1974. He also served as the Vice President of Summer Lacrosse League from 1965-1980, and in 1966, along with Jack Smythe, he started the American Lacrosse Camp which was one of the first two lacrosse camps for boys.
Joe was part of the Penn Charter community as a faculty member and coach for almost four decades. After his full-time work concluded in 2001, after 36 years of service, Joe continued to teach an elective in psychology/human development for several more years. His off-the-field roles at Penn Charter included English teacher, dean of students, college counselor, co-founder of the summer College Prep program.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Comments from the lacrosse community:
Springfield-Montco coach Hank Resch, who played for him in 1969 and coached with him for several years beginning in 1976: “Joe was a great coach, a great teacher and a unique character. He was great company with a sharp wit. He won the early lax championships in the 1970s with kids from different areas in Philadelphia who had never heard of lacrosse before. He did a lot to spread the game.”
Philly club director Bob Aitken, a HS All-American and member of he 1974/75/76 title teams: “Joe Perrott was more than just a coach. He motivated us to be the best we can be….on and off the field. There was no way we should have competed and won the state title in 1974 but he motivated us to a championship. We had the confidence after that; he established one of the best HS programs. Off the field he influenced us to look beyond a one- or two-year plan. He made us question how we can succeed and influence the world. You will continue to be in our hearts and prayers.”
Harry Sankey, longtime club coach and player on the 1974, 1975 state title teams: “Joe Perrott was the most influential man I have ever known in regards to the sport of lacrosse. He had the insight to know how to motivate players to compete at their highest level. Joe would recognize each player’s personality and allow them to play in their own particular style, whether that be physical, finesse, etc. During my high school years at Penn Charter in the 70’s, Coach Perrott took a bunch of football players and coached them up to win three consecutive State Championships in a row. He was the ‘Fred Shero’ (former Phila. Flyers coach) of lacrosse. As a coach now I have even more respect for what Coach Perrott was able to accomplish and utilize many of his schemes (especially his amazing zone defense) still. Whenever I think of lacrosse – I think of him, how special he was, and how much he impacted my life as a player and as a person.”
Chris Teare, head coach at Penn Charter in the late 1980s: “As a coach, Joe was a ferocious competitor who always started with the fundamentals and conditioning but went far beyond the basics. He had played varsity football and lacrosse at Williams, so he knew those games especially well. He joined the Penn Charter lacrosse program in its infancy and drove it to becoming the dominant team in Pennsylvania, winning five state championships along the way, starting with three in a row in 1974, ’75 and ’76, followed by two more in 1983 and ’89. In addition to drilling the basics, he spent unusual amounts of time on ‘special teams’: face-offs, riding, clearing, man up, and man down. He zealously taught the finer points of the game, and relentlessly challenged players to compete at the highest level possible. Joe could use scathing critiques at times, humor and nicknames at others. Some labels stuck. Just the other day, Sean Weston, OPC ’83, a starter on the 1983 state championship team and an essential assistant coach on the 1989 team, signed an email ‘Goofy.’ During my first lacrosse seasons as his assistant, 1981-83, his teams had a combined record of 45-4, with three straight Inter-Ac titles and a state championship. When I returned for the 1988 season, the team had just gone 1-14 without Joe, because he had gone over to Harriton High School to coach his youngest son, Keith. With Joe back on our sideline, the team went 37-14 and won another title.”