Clemson University

Clemson legends William and Michael Dean Perry make rare public appearance

GREENVILLE William Perry and Michael Dean Perry, two of the greatest defenders in Clemson history, were back in the Upstate Thursday evening, making a rare public appearance together.

The brothers did a question and answer session at the Embassy Suites as part of the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame Legends Speaker Series.

Former Tigers coach Danny Ford, who is in the College Football Hall of Fame and coached the Perry brothers, was also in attendance for the event and facilitated the Q&A portion of it.

“It’s been great coming out to the Hall of Fame and getting to see people, get to relax a little bit and have a little fun,” William said. “I’m up this way all the time back and forth. I just don’t stay, just passing through and see how things are going and back home I go.”

William has worked to overcome his share of obstacles in recent years, from alcoholism to diabetes to Guillain-Barré syndrome.

He is still living in Aiken and is working his way back to getting healthy.

“I’m mainly just rehabbing and getting back totally healthy and really just taking my time. We’re getting there,” he said.

Michael Dean is living in Charlotte and said that it was fun to be back at an event with his brother, who he rarely makes an appearance with.

“Oh it’s always nice coming back to Tiger Town and the area,” he said. “You know what? We don’t normally do this. I’m trying to remember the last time that we did do an autograph session or speaking commitment, it had to be about three or four years ago. So it’s not often that we get together at the same time, and it’s pretty sweet.”

Michael Dean, who was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1989, is glad to see his older brother making progress and is hopeful he will continue to get better.

“From my perspective? He’s doing OK. Could he be better? Yes. If he dove in 100 percent on his rehab, he would be much better. But he’s going to do it at his own pace and you just leave him alone,” Michael Dean said. “From the rehab standpoint, for example, if the therapist says, ‘You know what? You need to work four days a week,’ well he might do two days a week. ‘You might need to stay away from this.’ He doesn’t stay away from that. So that’s how it could be better – if he followed the instructions of the therapist … trying to get him back to 100 percent.”

William, who helped the Tigers to the 1981 national title, has not been to a game at Clemson in years but is hoping to soon.

“Yes, I’ll see which one and give a holler and see if they have a few tickets and I’d come on up,” he said.

Michael Dean makes regular appearances at Clemson and has toured the football facility with Tigers coach Dabo Swinney. He has enjoyed watching Clemson’s success in the past few years.

“I’ll tell you what I’m amazed about … I saw Tajh (Boyd) at an event last year and I told him, I said, ‘man, if we had an offense like you guys, we might have won three or four national championships,” he said. “It’s amazing to see the Clemson offense score like they do. I could have never imagined that you would have a Clemson offense that pretty much outshines Clemson defense because we were known for playing tough defense and to come to see those guys put up 35-40 points a game, it’s exciting.”