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Perles staying as coach-athletic director -- for now

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- George Perles Friday said it was a 'good possibility' he will step down as Michigan State's coach after this season and that he would eventually quit as coach or athletic director.

At a hastily called news conference, Perles denied reports he had already decided to step down as coach. Perles said he was happy with a positive review of his job performance by the university administration, and that he would await a recommendation by MSU Provost David Scott before deciding his future.

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Nevertheless, Perles hinted he may relinquish his coaching duties to become only athletic director at the end of the current dismal season. The Spartans are 2-7 entering Saturday's game against Purdue.

'I think that's a good possibility,' he said. 'I think that's a real possibility. I never intended this to be ongoing forever, anyhow.'

Perles said he was committed to remaining as football coach through the end of the season and that no arrangements had been made with the university regarding his future duties.

'There is no deal been cut,' he said.

A recommendation by Scott to MSU President John DiBiaggio and the university Board of Trustees is expected by Dec. 6.

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Published and broadcast reports had speculated Friday that Perles would step down as coach and remain as athletic director.

Perles was named athletic director in January 1990 against strenous opposition from DiBiaggio.

Perles, 56, in his ninth year as football coach, has another six years remaining on his contract. His coaching salary and endorsement contracts earn him about about $450,000 a year. He receives no additional money for serving as athletic director.

A review by MSU faculty, athletic department staff, students and administrators conducted during the summer and fall gave Perles overall high marks for his administrative skills.

MSU has a 56-43-4 record under Perles and has gone to bowls in five of the past six seasons. The high point of Perles' career was an upset over Southern Cal in the 1988 Rose Bowl.

Perles, a former assistant head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1972-79, returned to his alma mater in 1983 shortly after accepting the job as head coach of the Philadelphia Stars of the U.S. Football League. He replaced Frank 'Muddy' Waters, who was fired.

Perles played for the Spartans in 1958 until benched by a knee injury. He graduated from Michigan State in 1961 and earned a Master's degree in 1963. He was an MSU assistant from 1967-72.

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