George Perles, legendary Steelers coach, dies at 85

George Perles, legendary Steelers coach, dies at 85
1 Jan 1988: Coach George Perles of Michigan State after their 20-17 victory over USC at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. (Budd Symes /Allsport)

George Perles, a legendary Steelers coach who served on Chuck Noll’s staff for 11 years, has died at age 85 after complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Perles served as the team’s defensive line coach for six seasons. He was promoted to defensive coordinator for one season and spent four more as the assistant head coach to Noll.

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Perles was integral part of the legendary “Steel Curtain” defense.

Steelers President Art Rooney II remembered Perles and his significant contributions to the team’s first four Super Bowls. He issued the following statement: “George designed the Stunt 4-3 defense which helped Joe Greene and the Steel Curtain became one of the most dominant defenses in NFL history.”

Rooney added that Perles will be forever remembered for what he meant to the Steelers of the ‘70s.

Perles eventually returned to coach in his home state of Michigan. Following his success with the Steelers, he took over as head coach at Michigan State, a job he held for 12 seasons, winning a Big Ten title in 1987 and the Rose Bowl following that season.

Perles died Wednesday in Lansing, Mich.

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