Little All-City girls basketball Coach of the Year Londaryl Perry more than a coach

Northeast coach Londaryl Perry's rough past is a lesson for his players and students on how to overcome failure and difficulties to reach greatness.
by Jason Kersey Published: April 2, 2012
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Interviews with several family members paint a portrait of Londaryl Perry's mother as a severe drug addict and absentee parent.

Perry's mother, now 53, lives in Oklahoma City with one of Londaryl's brothers. She says she's drug free and declined to be interviewed for this story.

When Perry was a younger boy, he would stay out for hours and sometimes days at a time. But when he was in high school, he always made sure to come home after school to look after his brothers.

When he went off to Seminole State College to start his college basketball career, Londaryl's girlfriend Shana, who met Londaryl in eighth grade and dated him throughout high school, took over the job of checking in on Clifford and Jermey.

Shana, now Londaryl's wife, went to parent-teacher conferences and took the boys food, clothes and other necessities.

One day during his sophomore year, Londaryl made an unannounced trip home to check in, and was appalled by what he found.

Clifford, then 12, had been inside for a week, hiding from a neighborhood 16-year old nicknamed “Man” who was carrying a gun and threatening to kill him.

Londaryl went inside and was greeted by an overwhelming white cloud of smoke. There were at least 10 adults in the house with Clifford, and no sign of his mother.

After Londaryl kicked all the adults out, his mother arrived. Then, Man showed up.

The 16-year old brazenly played with the gun as Londaryl calmly told him to stay away from his brother.

Man dropped his weapon and all his bullets fell out. When he went to his hands and knees, Londaryl attacked him.

Londaryl's mother came outside and yelled at him to stop, and while he was distracted, the boy reloaded and aimed at Londaryl, who took off running.

Man pistol-whipped Londaryl's mother before he blacked out from the beating.

It was only after an ambulance came and took Man away that Londaryl discovered the whole time Clifford was inside with the strangers, his mother was getting high with Man's mom.

Not long after that, Londaryl moved back to Oklahoma City and walked on to the Central Oklahoma basketball team. His mother called and asked him for hotel money one cold day.

He drove to where his mother and brothers stood.

“I told my brothers to get in the car and I drove off,” Londaryl said. “I left my mother where she was standing.”

That's when Londaryl Perry took her to court.

“I'd never had food in my house,” Jermey Perry said. “I never had anybody show us love like they did. It felt like it was a fairy tale.”

Both of Londaryl's brothers now have careers, wives and children.

LIFE COACH

At age 37, Londaryl Perry applied for the Northeast girls basketball head coaching position.

He'd never been a head coach before, and he'd never coached girls before.

Perry's coaching experience included seven seasons as a boys assistant — 1998-2003 at Putnam City West and 2009-11 at Guthrie. Between those stints, he was a military man; Perry went to Iraq twice, once as an Army soldier and once as a civilian contractor.

The transition from boys to girls was a difficult one at first.

“Early in the season, it was rough,” said junior Danielle Gaddis. “Coach Perry yelled a lot more than we're used to, but really he's helped us mature.”

Perry admits he probably was too tough at times.

“They've humbled me some,” Perry said. “I'm glad they have done that, because I needed it. It's helped me with my two kids.”

Three of his nine players don't have mothers. Junior Maximina Gonzalez is one of them.

“I relate to him well,” Gonzalez said. “I really look up to him as a father figure, because he helps us off the court. He's trying to make us better, not just in basketball, but in life. He wants to see us succeed.”

Perry's lessons aren't limited to his basketball team. He frequently reaches out to Northeast students who he thinks need guidance.

Shana Perry, who works with many troubled kids herself as principal at Del Crest Middle School, calls her husband a “life coach.”

“Londaryl could be successful in any setting, but I think God's purpose for him is to be in a setting like that,” said Shana Perry, who in February was named Oklahoma's Middle School Principal of the Year.

“Your future doesn't have to be determined by your past. He's a living example of that.”


by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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