George Perles resigns from Michigan State University Board of Trustees

Perles, 84, was football coach, AD at Michigan State

George Perles
George Perles

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Former Michigan State University football coach and athletic director George Perles has resigned from his position on the school's Board of Trustees.

The university announced Thursday that Perles, 84, submitted his letter of resignation on Wednesday. His resignation is effective immediately. In his letter of resignation, Perles cited his health issues -- specifically his battle with Parkinson's disease -- as part of his reason for stepping aside.

"I have known George for many years and his dedication to the university is beyond compare,” reads a statement from Board of Trustees Chairman Brian Breslin. "He cares deeply about the people here and has worked selflessly over the years — whether that was as a player, coach, athletic director or board member -- to push MSU to its greatest potential."

School officials said Gov. Rick Snyder’s office has been notified of the resignation. Breslin said he anticipates the governor will make an appointment in the near future.

Meanwhile, Perles faces a lawsuit that claims he knew about an assault by former sports doctor Larry Nassar all the way back in 1992 and covered it up. Perles worked as the school's athletic director at the time.

READ: Lawsuit claims former Michigan State AD George Perles covered up 1992 Nassar assault of athlete

Perles played football for Michigan State back in the 1950s, then was the team’s head coach from 1983–1994. He also coached in the NFL before returning to Michigan State to serve as the school’s athletic director. He was elected as a Democrat to the Board of Trustees in 2006.

Here is Perles' full letter of resignation:

Dear Trustee Breslin:

After careful and considerable thought,I have decided to tender my resignation as a member of the Board of Trustees for Michigan State University. This resignation is effective immediately.

This decision was not easy nor was it made without consulting my family and medical advisers.

Michigan State University has been a home to me and my family for nearly 65 years. I arrived on campus shortly after completing my U.S. Army service. I met and married my wife, Sally, while at MSU and we lived in married housing with our first two child¡en. I continued to be an ardent MSU supporter and proud Michigander even as I began my professional career and resided outside of the state.

Sally and I were delighted to return to our dream job when I was asked to lead the football team and serve a short term as athletic director. After attending the university and serving as an employee, the next step was to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees. As a trustee, my goal was to help navigate the challenges of maintaining and growing an institution that, in my mind, is the finest university in the county.

It has been no secret that I have been living with a number of health challenges. Despite the limitations, I continued to support the university and remained focused on fulfilling my commitments as a Trustee.

As this year comes to a close, so begins a time of reflection. At age 84, my mobility is compromised and I live with the effects of Parkinson's every day. The ramifications of my health issues continue to grow. I have been blessed with a wife who has sacrificed much to tend to my needs and to provide constant care.

At this juncture, I feel that Sally deserves some respite. We need to make our life smaller as we age and consider our quality of life. Our family has bled green and white for the better part of our lives. It's time to step back and allow the next generation to carry the MSU torch.

Therefore, with a heavy heart, I have decided to resign as a member of the MSU Board of Trustees effective immediately.

I have been blessed to have a wonderful family a wealth of experiences and a fulfilling career. MSU provided the foundation for much of my success. I most sincerely thank the voters of this state for twice electing me to the position of Board of Trustee. I have always respected the trust they placed in me and only hope that my contributions have helped to illustrate my most sincere gratitude.

Go Green


George Perles

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