FRESNO, Calif. - Hundreds gathered at People's Church in Fresno Saturday, Nov. 25, to celebrate the life of a beloved high school football coach. Tony Perry was an assistant coach for the Edison Tigers.
Perry died Saturday, Nov. 11., at the age of 54. It's unclear how he died.
A number of family and friends spoke at Coach Perry's service, all still in mourning of a beloved man, but celebrating his life.
They said they will always hold a special place in their heart for a true inspiration, mentor, coach and friend.
"I just always, always have love for Tone," Ju'Wan Murphy, a former football player of Coach Perry's, said.
Murphy, is a junior at Humboldt University.
He came down to pay his respects to the man, he says, still coached him with open arms.
Video showed Murphy training with Perry this past summer before his football season started.
"I was working out with him to get me back right for this upcoming season and I just have countless memories with him this summer and he actually helped me have a one of my best season's this year so I owe a lot of that to Tone," Murphy said.
He said Perry known as DB Guru, inspired him to pursue football and higher education.
"Tony Perry never stopped working to get all his players to college," Murphy said.
Councilmember Oliver Baines, a friend of Perry's, said that's the kind of man he was.
"Tony he was a treasure to Fresno," Baines said.
He said Perry was always looking out for the kids in the community.
"The opportunities that he provided the young people is remarkable," Baines said.
He presented a plaque to Perry's family of a resolution marking November 25, a day remembering a man he says was a rare find in Fresno.
"We want them to have something that says that the City of Fresno loves this person, acknowledged this person and we are grateful for what he gave our community," Baines said.
Murphy said he'll always hold a special place in his heart for coach.
"I'm keep those workouts forever with me because I know that's what helped me get to where I am right now," Murphy said.
Perry's sister, at the funeral and spoke, mentioned that she hopes his students will keep his name alive by living right and pursuing higher education.