Parker loses coaching jobPublished 10:53pm Monday, December 9, 2013
Nansemond River High School’s football team will return to the gridiron in 2014 without Tracey Parker as head coach.
Parker has served in the position for the last seven years, but Thomas McLemore, principal of Nansemond River, decided it was time to take the football program in a different direction.
“The final decision was made last week,” McLemore said. “It’s something that I had been thinking about for a period of time.”
The Warriors ended the 2013 season with a record of 4-7. They made the playoffs this year for the first time in nearly 20 years, though it was a feat helped, in part, by the Virginia High School League’s realignment, which expanded the field of playoff-qualifying teams. Nansemond River was 21-50 during Parker’s tenure.
Parker took a practical approach to McLemore’s choice.
“It’s a situation that is not within my power,” he said. “I believe in trying to control the things that I can. It’s not a thing where I’m mad or angry or upset. It’s just not my decision to make.”
Reflecting on his time as the Warriors head coach, he said, “It was a good experience. I enjoyed working with the kids.”
He said he was happy to have the opportunity to be influential in the lives of the young men on the team and to see them succeed both on and off the field.
Some of the most notable on-field successes, moving on into the college ranks, include redshirt freshman Dewayne Alford at Virginia Tech, sophomore Corey Barnes at Delaware State University and redshirt freshmen Lamont Brown III and Willie Gillus III at Morgan State University.
Nansemond River activities director Nancy Richey expressed her gratitude for what Parker gave to the football program, citing an improvement in players’ dedication and determination.
“We were very lucky to have him for the years that we did and have him do with the program what he has started for our program,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll continue to improve in a different direction.”
“He was an outstanding person,” McLemore said of Parker. “He worked hard.”
Parker confirmed he intends to remain as a physical education teacher at Nansemond River.
“He is a teacher for Suffolk Public Schools first, and then he is a coach,” Richey said. “He’s always been an outstanding teacher and well-respected in that regard.”
Announcing the decision right at the end of the football season will allow extra time for administrators to find a new coach.
“We’re going to do an extensive search, and we’re going to try to get the best person we can for the job,” he said.
Richey said they will be looking around Virginia and North Carolina and would like to start the application process as soon as possible.
“We would like to have a decision after the first of the year, before springtime,” she said.
While Parker would be open to coaching somewhere in the future if the opportunity presented itself, he said getting more time with his family, including his 11-year old daughter, keeps that from being a pressing concern.
“Right now, I think being able to get my daughter off the bus after school might supersede that,” he said with a chuckle. “Daddy hasn’t been able to do that many times.”