Joe Perkowski

1998, State Inductee
About This Inductee
  • Coughlin High School-10 letters in football, basketball, track, baseball
  • Captain of 1957 championship football team, two-time All-State/All-Scholastic
  • Notre Dame University-3 year football letterman-halfback/kicker/running back
  • 1961 leading scorer. Against Navy, carried ball 25 times, 131 yards, 9 extra points, one field goal
  • Set record of 5 field goals in one game, new record of 49 yards (stood for 11 years)
  • Longest field goal-55 yards in 1961 Spring exhibition game (half time against Paul Horning)
  • Was also a running back for two years, averaging 5.2 yards per carry for total of 400 yards
  • Drafted by NFL’s Chicago Bears, but suffered a first-year career ending injury
  • Inducted into PA Sports Hall of Fame in 2006


Joe graduated from Coughlin High School where he earned a total of 10 letters in football, basketball, track and baseball. He was captain of the 1957-58 championship football team and helped lead Coughlin to their first Wyoming Valley Conference Championship since 1937 with an 8-1 record. Joe broke the scoring record in 1957 with 18 touchdowns and 19 extra points for 127 points (a Wyoming Valley record that year). He was named as halfback and played for the East in the 1958 UNICO game. Joe scored 10 touchdowns and was named Most Valuable Player of the Year. He was also selected All-State, All-Star, All-Scholastic, and Top 33 in the state in 1956-57. Joe broke the all-time scoring record in the Wyoming Valley Conference. He was elected to the PA Big 33 team in both his junior and senior year, being the only junior ever selected (even now only seniors are eligible). He was on the 1956 championship track team at Coughlin and played on their championship baseball team in 1957-58. Joe went on to the University of Notre Dame where he became the leading scorer in 1961 playing halfback and kicking field goals. He held the record for the longest field goal at 49 yards against USC in 1961; his record stood for 11 years. Joe, famous for his “overtime” kick that beat Syracuse in 1961, was voted by the Associated Press as having made the most unusual play of the year. Notre Dame refers to that play simply as “the kick,” which helped initiate a NCAA rules change. Notre Dame was trailing 15-14 with only three seconds left. Joe lined up to try a 56-yard field goal, a roughing the kicker penalty moved the ball 15 yards, and Joe kicked a 41-yard field goal to win the game. His field goal was also decisive in a 22-20 victory against Purdue in 1961. Joe won a monogram letter three years while at Notre Dame. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears, but a knee injury prevented him from pursuing a professional career. Joe is married to the former Jean Macarelli and resides in Plains. They have two children, Nadine and Matt (who also played fullback and linebacker at Coughlin High School) and four grandchildren.