CRAMERTON, N.C. - The small town of Cramerton now home of the interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
“It’s exciting to watch because Perry is just one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, everybody loves Perry,” said Greg Ramsey, former classmate of Perry and owner of Floyd and Blackie’s Coffee and Ice Cream.
Ramsey went to school with Perry. He says many like him have followed Perry's career since the beginning.
“He's our hometown hero. He's the hometown guy that has done good and we've all just been rooting for him and following him ever since,” said Ramsey.
“He's just a standout guy in every aspect. He was a good athlete, a good student. He just excelled in every category and he's always leader,” said Greg Harmon who graduated with Perry in 1980 from South Point High School.
Harmon is also a committee member of the Perry Fewell honorary leadership scholarship. He says each year they identify a South Point student who they believe excels in and out of the classroom like Perry. He says what Perry has accomplished thus far is a great look for the area.
“I think it speaks well of the area. As they say it takes a village, so he grew up in an area and the traits he got from living here he's carried with them in his career,” said Harmon.
And although the search for the next Panthers head coach has officially started, some who know Perry the best believe the panthers won't have to go far.
“David Tepper if you're watching this, you've found your head coach. You need not look no further,” said Ramsey.
When you talk about Perry Fewell, his former coach and friend Jim Biggerstaff can't stop gushing over him
"Perry is like a son to me. He's almost like a son. He calls my wife mom. He calls my son and daughter, brother and sister," Biggerstaff said.
Perry grew up in the historic Baltimore area of Cramerton. Biggerstaff, a Hall of Fame coach, served as South Point coach for the first two decades of their existence from '69 to '89, and Perry was a member of the 1979 team that won a state title.
"He was great at fundamentals. You did not have to repeat a lot things when you had perry when you were coaching but he was also president of the student body and he was popular with all the students."
He says watching perry throughout the years, from high school to Lenior Rhyne and then the NFL ranks has been a blessing.
Bigerstaff says he was caught by surprise when the news became official that he was the Panthers interim coach.
"Believe it or not, I was outside in my yard cutting grass. I said 'oh boy'. Not for coach Rivera but for Perry," Biggerstaff said. "Everybody is extremely proud of him. We are extremely proud of him. Even before he became the interim head coach everybody was proud of him because they knew what type of guy he is."
Fewell gave Biggerstaff a football when he won his very first football game as a head coach with the Bills back in 2009 as an interim coach, and Biggerstaff was there in Indianapolis after perry won the Superbowl as a coordinator with the Giants in 2012.
His old ball coach believes he has good moments ahead as Panthers interim head coach.
"He is going to do well. He is a student of the game, he knows the people. He like the people, the people like him and I think he'll do great," Biggerstaff said.