JOSEPH A. PERELLA
Joseph Perella Sr. grew up in the heart of Little Italy in Cleveland, Ohio. “Coach” Joe Perella has been
a big part of Greater Cleveland football for close to 40 years. Perella attended Cathedral Latin High School
(Class of ’58) where his passion for athletics shaped him into the man that he would become influencing
thousands of athletes in the Northeast Ohio area and beyond. He received his undergraduate degree at
John Carroll University (Class of ’63) and his graduate degree from Ashland University. Perella began his coaching
journey at Latin (1964-68) and transitioned to Division I institutions for five consecutive years. Perella was the
quarterbacks and receiver’s coach at Florida State University (1968-1969) and the offensive coordinator for the
University of Louisville (1969-1972) and the University of Cincinnati (1972-1973). Perella’s offensive strategies
led Louisville to two Missouri Valley Conference Championships, and his passing attack was 2nd in the nation at
Florida State. Perella returned home after college success to coach at his alma mater, Cathedral Latin from 1974
until the school’s closing in 1978. In 1980 he was named head coach and physical education teacher at Beachwood High School
and went 70-27-3 in his 10 year stint. He won two conference championships in three years as head coach at
University School (1990-1994), ending his high school coaching career. Perella returned as a familiar face to
John Carroll University as offensive coordinator (1994-2000) leading the Blue Streaks to a 49-11-2 record, 25 broken school
records and an NCAA playoff appearance in 1997. After leaving John Carroll, Perella became the offensive coordinator for
the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (2000-2001), leading the Bombers to second in the C.F.L in
scoring. Perella returned home for his final coaching appearance as head coach at Case Western Reserve from 2001-2003.
After his retirement as athletic director at Beachwood High School, Perella continued to volunteer his time by mentoring
young athletes to be successful on and off the field.
The Perella family is overwhelmed with the amount of love and support from the community. The impact that Coach has
made on his former players, students and colleagues has already proven to have touched many lives as the following
quotations are from friends and loved ones: “I can remember sitting in his office as a young high schooler, not even
realizing how much wisdom was being thrown at me.” “A legend. Taught so many how to be a great football player,
but even a better man.” “Coach Perella was one of the best to ever do it” “Coach didn’t care what sport you played or
even if you didn’t play sports…he just liked to find out about you and he always had a great way to make you feel
good about yourself” “I am one of the thousands he made a significant impact on. Grateful to have known him.”
Joseph Perella Sr. “Coach,” 80, passed away peacefully at home Sunday November 29th, 2020 with his loving wife, Kathy by his side.
It was only right that Coach Perella passed on football Sunday after a Browns win and listening to one of his favorite movies.
Joseph told the best (and longest) stories, preferred a grilled cheese, French fries and a blue Powerade made by his favorite
snack bar employees, or a bite to eat at Tasty Pizza (literally every day) and was never too shy to mention that your face
was killing him with a huge smile. The soul of Joseph lives through each and every person that he has impacted, and the Perella
family believes that his legacy and love for the game will be carried on by each and every one of you.
Joseph is survived by his loving children Joseph Perella Jr. (Michele), Johnny, Stepson Steven (Crystal) and grandchildren
Angela and Amanda Perella and Shane Dickens. Loving brother in-law of Bill Adkins (Lisa) and Debbie Buscigleo (Paul). Preceded
in death by his loving parents Angelo and Elizabeth Perella, who were loved by many. The family would like to thank Heather Hill,
especially Marylou, Jillc and Traci for their compassionate care and Bella Care Hospice for making Joseph’s transition home possible.
In leu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made to Heather Hill Dementia Care
12340 Bass Lake Road Chardon, Ohio 44024.