Archived Story

Broncos not in Player of the Week

Published 10:14am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Franklin High School’s head football coach, Darren Parker, has built the Broncos into a very successful program. His teams have won two state titles, been on the doorstep of a couple more and have landed several post-season accolades along the way. This year’s team looks to be well positioned to achieve similar success.

A major ingredient in Coach Parker’s winning formula, one every bit as important as his punishing ground game and defensive speed, has been the ability to get his team’s players to buy into a team-first attitude. Football is the ultimate team game, and the Broncos know that their coach values team accomplishment over anything else, including individual recognition.

This season, The Tidewater News has begun recognizing Western Tidewater’s top high school football performer each week by naming him as our Player of the Week. It is an award intended to recognize, among other things, an outstanding individual effort that contributed to team success. It is an award that has been embraced and viewed as an honor by all of the coaches and players we have spoken with to this point. All, that is, except for Coach Parker.

Coach Parker has informed the staff of The Tidewater News that he has chosen not to participate in any way in having his players nominated for consideration in our Player of the Week award. He has made it clear that he will not provide any individual player statistics in helping us determine a weekly winner of the award, nor allow any of his players to be individually photographed should they be given the award. He has also indicated that no one on his staff will be allowed to communicate this information with us either.

And so, we will begrudgingly comply with Coach Parker’s wishes. For the remainder of this season (and, presumably, any others during which Darren Parker is the head football coach at FHS) no Franklin High School player will be nominated for our Player of the Week award. And it is a shame. Because by artificially weakening the competition vying for it, some shine is taken off of an award given to a student athlete whose performance on the field is deserving of the recognition. But perhaps more disappointingly, not allowing his players to be considered could cost some outstanding athletes at FHS the opportunity for much-needed exposure, and perhaps even an opportunity to compete for an athletic scholarship in college.

We love football, perhaps because it is the ultimate team game. And in football, just as in life, players should have the opportunity to be recognized for making a significant contribution to his team’s success.

Even if they play for Coach Parker and the Broncos.

  • Kmart3008

    @Chilimac, I spoke with my sons about this article. I was enlightened to some things in regards to the “team first” attitude and how the Player of the Week could potentially destoy what Coach has put in place with the team. I have a much better understanding of this now. Maybe parents should work closer with the Coach in order to help his/her child(ren)

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  • chilimac72

    Does Parker have this much autonomy from the AD or does the school agree? That may be the bigger question.

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  • chilimac72

    Oh, I completely agree with the fact that very few are DI or even DII caliber and am very glad to see any young athlete get money or just motivation to go to college. I do know, however, that many parents believe that their young athletes are more, which inspires them to make accusations that Parker does not provide support or assistance unless they are a “chosen few”. That is the comment I was addressing. I know Parker well enough to believe he is motivated to help these young men get out of football what he got, drive – determination – and EDUCATION!

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  • 23851

    There is no Burgandy jacket. The 04 was gray with blue sleeves and the 08 was blue with gray sleeves. They were not blue and gold so they could be noticeable to what they are

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  • TaxMax

    Hopefully the principal or the athletic director will step up and get recognition for these players! If not, when the TN gets the coverage of the game for publication they can see the stats and if a player from FHS deserves player of the week honors, they should get it! And I am offended if their championship jackets were any color besides blue and gold!

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  • usetobehome

    This is really interesting to me, over the past 3 years I have been heavily involved in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and have learned that as a Head Coach of any team, you are ultimately the manager of your players. With that said, just like a manager in business, the better your players perform, and carry themselves, the better you look. The more they are noticed for good things on and off the field of play, the more the coach, and school is. Not sure of his personal motive here, or even if there is one; however if this were one of the coaches in our local district (Class 3AA & 4A High Schools) we would still be reaching out to them to counsel him on the benefits, and the greater good that can come out of these types of spotlight opportunities for young student athletes. If often gives them a sense of accomplishment, builds confidence, and if done properly can help boost them into a leadership position as well. This one feature could be a catalyst that helps them develop as a student athlete, and eventually as an adult carrying over the notion to be a positive contributor to society. I know that’s a little deep for perhaps the coach to grasp during the heart of the season, but I’m sure given some level headed thought he could reconsider. When one of his players is chosen or selected as the player of the week, he then could use that as a coaching lesson to help build and reinforce his team concept by letting the team know because of them this accomplishment was also achieved by the team, along with the individual. Give them the accolades they earn, and then deserve coach.
    TN – this is your Newspaper, and your poll, you also can do the right thing and list the player on their behalf.

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  • 23851

    Chillmac,

    I know all teams stress a “team first” attitude. Which you should. However, how can you push for your star players to receive District Player awards? How do you accept a Coach of the Year Award? How do you give out awards at the awards banquets?

    I know a lot more about the program, Coach, and school than I will offer on here. But, as much as Coach cares for these kids do a little research on how many of them attended college beyond high school and had any success. It’s a handle full. There have only been a few student/athletes that warranted football scholarships to D1 schools. But that doesn’t mean those other kids couldn’t go play ball at a small D3 school, to get an education and enjoy playing a game they loved.

    Another black cloud over FCPS

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    • freedomis4real

      Chillimac,

      You make some good points. I do not have anything invested in the reputation or future of Coach Parker. Caveat: I did not attend school with him, do not attend hi church, do not play sports with him, etc. I have wondered what has happened to players that graduate and leave his program. Based on my findings, the prolific reputation of the program does not align with the students’ academic endeavors or achievements beyond FCPS. I counted 3 former FSCPS football players working at a fast food establishment [on the same shift] about one month ago. What is happening? To blame Coach Parker would be unjust. Please give him the benefit of the doubt – believe that he gives equal credence to players performing well on and off the field. On another note, I suspect that parents are largely responsible for making sure that their children are properly education and able to [let's say] move on to higher education. In too many instances, parents are aware that their children struggle in school, but do not take the necessary steps to seek assistance. Parents: Why not, take your child off the field or court [no need to get the coach's permission]. A coach does not have the authority to force your child to play. Yet, these same parents find there way to the football games each Friday night – they are the loudest voices in the stands. Parents stop letting your children be “used” by a system predicated on wins and losses.

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  • chilimac72

    I believe the article says the “team first” attitude he feels does not support an individual award. The accusation that Parker does not assist student-athletes in getting recruited is completely false. The problem I see, more often than not, is the athlete is not as good as their parents think they are.

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    • Kmart3008

      Chilimac, I am speaking of my experience with Coach Parker. And, based on that I can say my accusation is more than accurate. I do think you know when your child is good at something and when he/she is lacking. One of my son’s did obtain an athelic scholarship but little to no assistance was provided from his COACH. Basically, don’t leave it up to the coach to spotlight your child. It just might not happen with him!

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  • Maxdoubt

    What was the coaches motivation to not participate? There is no mention of his reason if one was given. I could understand if the coach felt that spotlighting one player on his team would be disruptive to the team effort or adverse to some sort of team mentality he is fostering. If the coach gave a reason and it was not published then that seems unfair. If the coach gave no reason then further investigation is warranted. The story is incomplete in my opinion.

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    • Kmart3008

      I agree with you Maxdoubt. The story does not give a reason for the Coach not wanting to participate.

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  • Kmart3008

    As a parent, I have to say my sons played under Coach Parker and his staff. There has always been something lacking when it came to Coach Darren Parker. I never saw him as having our childrens best interest at heart when it came to scholarships, recruiting etc. Parker gets a favorite pick and that is the one child that will receive the spotlight. The award program that TWN is implementing sounds like it could be a good thing.

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  • Reader1

    I knew there was a problem with the way Coach Parker sees things when he selected Burgundy and Gray for the championship jackets instead of Blue and Gold which are the school colors. He did this not once but twice. I believe the second set may have been blue and gray. I wonder if he had the blessing of the Superintendant and the School Board when he made this decision.

    TWN thanks for trying. This is one citizen who really applauds your efforts in trying to put the spotlight of encouragement on our local teams.

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    • Reader1

      Check again on the burgundy and gray you will find out that I’m correct.
      As far as the jackets not being in the school colors not bothering some people. Why do we have them if not as a statement of school pride. Why does the team wear it all season as well as most of the fans in support of them. Why do the boosters sale T-Shirts, Spirit Fingers and Hats all in the school colors. As for the comment about them being more recognizable, they can’t be serious. How could you possibly think that anyone would equate something other than the colors of Blue and Gold with Franklin High School sprit.

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