Mark Perry, school athletic director, wraps up career at
Snohomish High School
Doug Ramsay photo
Snohomish High School Athletic Director Mark Perry, stands before the athletic field at Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium on May 17.
SNOHOMISH — Snohomish High School Athletic Director Mark Perry is retiring after spending 40 years shaping the lives of students and athletes. With a tenure that included stints coaching the varsity football and wrestling teams, Perry will finish his career at the end of the school year.
“I’ll miss being with the players and students. I’ll miss the camaraderie with the students,” Perry said adding it’s time to retire and he is looking forward to spending time with his four grandchildren as well as hunting and fishing.
Originally from Sandpoint, Idaho, he came to the Snohomish School District in 1983 after graduating from Eastern Washington University. “I always knew I wanted to be a math teacher and coach.”
In 1985, he changed schools to Snohomish High where he taught math and was an assistant coach for the football and wrestling teams. By the mid-‘90s, he was the head coach for both teams.
“I thought he was going to be around forever,” said Francisco Lopez, who is an assistant football coach for the Panthers. He met Perry in 1998 when Lopez took a job as a paraeducator and volunteered coaching kickers on the football team. “He’s such a gentleman. We became friends right away.”
Perry took over from longtime football coach Dick Armstrong. During his tenure as head coach, Snohomish advanced to the state semifinals in 1998 and won league championships in 1996, 2001 and 2002. In wrestling, Perry’s teams won five Wesco league championships, four regional championships, four regional runners-up and had five top 10 finishes.
Perry has won numerous coach of the year awards and, in 2016, he was inducted into the Washington State Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 2022, he was honored as Wesco and District 1 Athletic Director of the Year.
Lopez said Perry let him work with the kids and he was always fair.
“The biggest thing in coaching is keeping your word,” Lopez said.
Snohomish High School Principal Nate DuChesne met Perry in 1983 when he was a sophomore at Snohomish and a quarterback on the football team.
“I just remember this young guy with a lot of energy,” said DuChesne, who is completing his first energy,” said DuChesne, who is completing his first year as principal at Snohomish High School. “He was a great coach. That’s what made him a great athletic director as well.”
DuChesne stayed in contact with Perry. DuChesne’s career led him to becoming the athletic director at Mariner High School around 10 years ago.
“Being around all of the Wesco athletic directors, they just had a lot of respect for Mark,” DuChesne said. He added that Perry ran an organized and disciplined program.
“Mark has a tremendous amount of respect in this building and this community,” DuChesne said. “He has invested a lot of time in people.”
Perry has seen some changes during his tenure as athletic director. The school has added sports such as girls badminton and girls wrestling, and the school district works to find space for sports and community activities as well as tackle the challenge of finding enough officials.
Perry praised the coaches and students in Snohomish High, which recently saw the girl’s track team place second at District 1 championships and the boy’s track team place fifth. Snohomish’s baseball team placed first in the Wesco North and the softball team won the regional championships and, as of press time, are competing in the state tournament.
“You still get kids who are working hard to perfect their sport,” Perry said.
After he retires, Perry will still have a hand in high school athletics. He will help organize the state 2A Mat Classic in 2024.
Here are some of the honors Mark Perry earned during his career in the Snohomish School District:
• 1998 - Honored by The Seattle Times as the All-Area Football Coach of the Year
• 2000 - Honored by the Washington State Wrestling Coaches Association (WSWCA) as the “William Tomaras Award” winner for exceptional leadership, development, and promotion of wrestling in Washington state
• 2000 - Selected the Washington State Football Coaches Association District 1 Football Coach of the Year
• 2001 - Selected the Seattle Seahawks Coach of the Week
• 2001 - Selected as the 4A Region 1 Wrestling Coach of the Year
• 2001 - Selected the WSWCA 4A State Wrestling Coach of the Year
• 2002 - Selected the WIAA Wrestling Sportsman of the Year
• 2006 - Named the Snohomish School District Educator of the Year
• 2007 - Selected the Seattle Seahawks Coach of the Week
• 2010 - Inducted into the WSWCA Hall of Fame
• 2013 - Snohomish High School Panther Inspiration Award winner
• 2016 - Inducted into the Washington State Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame
• 2022 - Honored as Wesco and District 1 Athletic Director of the Year
-- Compiled by Nathan Whalen
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