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By Terry Dean
(Courtesy Fenwick High School)
It is with heavy hearts that the Fenwick Community announces the death of legendary water polo coach Dave Perry. After a valiant and brave fight with cancer, Perry passed away on Sunday morning, Sept. 11.
Perry is the most successful water polo coach in the state history, amassing a total of 17 state championships, including eight consecutive IHSA sanctioned state titles. The team won 51 straight games between the 2006 and 2007 seasons. They went undefeated (36-0) last season to earn their eighth state title.
"Coach Perry leaves a tremendous legacy at Fenwick as a dedicated and compassionate teacher, coach and friend," says Fenwick President, Fr. DePorres Durham. "Although he has amassed incredible records and accolades throughout his water polo career, his generous heart and courageous spirit are to be most celebrated and remembered."
In a wheelchair for the championship game, Perry coached the team to victory with his son, Kyle. At the all-school pep rally recognizing the state championship, the players touted Perry as their inspirational presence throughout the state tournament saying, "This one was special and we all wanted to win it for Coach Perry."
Perry owns an astounding 757-143-2 career record in 31 years at Fenwick and Mount Carmel (his record is 675-70-1 in 23 years at Fenwick). He is a member of the Illinois Water Polo Hall of Fame, Illinois Swimming Association Hall of Fame, Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame, and has been named Coach of the Year countless times.
"In this time of great loss, we held a mass for our community this morning (Sept. 12) to provide an opportunity for prayer and comfort, particularly for the Perry family," says Fr. Durham, "his wife Marianne and children and Fenwick faculty members, Kyle and Liz, as well as the countless individuals who were better for having known Coach Perry."
Visitation will be Friday, Sept. 16, at Fenwick High School, 505 W. Washington, from 3 to 9 p.m. Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 17, at St. Vincent Ferrer, 1530 Jackson Avenue in River Forest.