High School Football

LexCath hires ex-UK QB as new head coach

Mark Perry is Lexington Catholic's new head football coach.
Mark Perry is Lexington Catholic's new head football coach.

Bob Sphire and Bill Letton, the only football coaches Lexington Catholic has had in its program's 23-year history, each won a state title.

Mark Perry, who was introduced on Thursday as the Knights' new coach, hopes to emulate his predecessors.

"Our goal from day one is to bring a state championship back to Lexington Catholic," he said. "It's no secret that's what we're after. We'll work tirelessly as a coaching staff and football team to do it."

Perry, 35, has been at Class 6A Central Hardin the past three years.

He led the Bruins to an 11-2 record last fall. Both losses were to state runner-up Meade County.

Perry, who is from Cleveland, was a backup quarterback to Jared Lorenzen at Kentucky under Hal Mumme. He earned a scholarship his senior season (2000). He was a graduate assistant under Guy Morriss at UK and Baylor.

Perry got his first head coaching job at Washington County in 2004. He went 36-40 in seven years, capped by a 9-2 mark in 2010. He left the Commanders for Central Hardin, where his overall record was 22-14.

Perry said Lexington Catholic has a lot to offer.

"It has a great combination of attributes — the type of school it is, the football program that's in place, and it's in the great city of Lexington. It was a no-brainer for my wife and I.

"And I love the school slogan: 'Champions are made here.' It means there are great people here in a great environment. It says what type of overall person the Lexington Catholic student-athlete is."

Lexington Catholic President Dr. Steve Angelucci said Perry "blew away" the interview committee "with the way he handled every question and his preparedness. He convinced everybody in the room he'd make a very good program even better."

Perry said his offensive style — a fast-paced, wide-open passing attack — is similar to what Lexington Catholic ran under Sphire and Letton.

Perry referenced the offensive-minded people he was around at UK, including Mumme, Mike Leach, Chris Hatcher and Tony Franklin.

Perry is delighted he'll have Reese Ryan, a Division I prospect, returning at quarterback for Lexington Catholic next season.

"I've heard tremendous things about him," Perry said. "The type of person he is and the type of leader. That's the type of kid you like to have going into your first year with this kind of offense."

Perry said he's also committed to fielding a physical "championship defense."

The Knights' adjustment to a new coach should be made smoother by having a lot of familiar faces among the assistant coaches.

"One of my main goals is to keep the staff intact," Perry said. "I've met with them and they're great guys. As a whole we have the same vision and same ideas."

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