Perles’ election as an MSU trustee by state voters in 2006 was his only previous campaign for public office, but he told the paper he believes his public prominence in the sports-mad state can help him in an election. “Name recognition is a big thing,” said Perles, who turns 75 years old on July 16. “You get attention in both the political pages of the newspaper and the sports pages. It’s a unique situation.”
Perles certainly has plenty of football credentials. After his career as an MSU player was cut short by injury, Perles served as an assistant coach from 1959 to 1970, a period that included the Spartans’ championship era in the mid-1960s. He segued to more than a decade as an assistant coach of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers during their Super Bowl glory days.