EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State football coach George Perles Thursday said he turned down an offer to become coach of the Green Bay Packers because of an unbreakable bond with the school.
'I could not leave Michigan State,' an emotional Perles said Thursday at an afternoon press conference, ending a day of intense speculation he would leave MSU. 'I had the opportunity, but I wanted to stay at Michigan State. Just like I said, this is the job for me, and I'm staying here. I wasn't influenced by any one person.
'I had the opportunity, but didn't do it. The fact is that I'm home. I'll be here. This reinforces that I love it at Michigan State. I like my home. I'm very relaxed, and I'm happy.'
Perles, a former Spartan player and assistant, led them to the 1987 Big Ten Championship and 1988 Rose Bowl victory in his fifth year as head coach.
MSU Athletic Director Doug Weaver also announced Perles received a five-year contract extension, binding the 53-year-old coach to Michigan State for the next 10 years.
'I'll be able to tell recruits that I'll be here when they go to grad school and get their Ph.D,' Perles quipped.
Perles' contract was a five-year rollover deal for $105,000 a year, but he nettedclose to $200,000 annually after endorsements.
Perles has always preached about building a family-type atmosphere at the school where former coaches Duffy Daugherty and Biggie Munn built college football dynasties.
'I have not got the ability to leave this situation for Green Bay; this is me,' Perles said. 'All that stuff we said for five years is the truth. I know it more than ever today. I had the great test.'
Green Bay contacted Perles last week about filling the vacancy left by Forrest Gregg's departure to Southern Methodist. Perles said he wasn't interested, but team president Judge Robert Parins met with Perles Tuesday night in Chicago and sweetened the deal.
Contract proposals were rumored to be around $1.8 million over five years, but Perles said Thursday the estimate was low.
'It was a lot of money,' Perles said. 'I'm not deserving of that kind of money. You could get two Don Shula's for that. I don't get excited about that stuff. I don't even spend the money I have now. Nobody knows what I want. I'm a different type of guy.'
Perles' incentive to leave, rather, was the lure of winning a fifth Super Bowl. He was a defensive assistant with Pittsburgh from 1972-81 when the Steelers won four Super Bowls.
'The burning desire was to take another shot at the fifth Super Bowl ring,' Perles said. 'That's what motivated me to taking the job. That made me look at the job seriously.'
Weaver and a number of Spartan administrators met at Perles' home Wednesday to discuss the offer. Perles also received a phone call Wednesday from Michigan Gov. James J. Blanchard, urging the fifth-year coach to stay.
'I told the Packers that I'd call them Wednesday evening, but that I had to talk to my administrators,' Perles said.
Perles praised Parins and director of football operations Tom Braatz.
'(They were) straight-forward with me and I sincerely regard both of them, and the Packer organization, as top quality,' he said. 'When it came time to actually tell people at Michigan State that I was leaving, I got cold feet and simply couldn't make the move. I have tremendous loyalty to MSU. I simply can't leave the school.'
Perles has a 32-24-2 career record in five years at Michigan State. He was booed heavily earlier last year, but then the Spartans went nine games without a loss and finished at 9-2-1 for his best season ever.