Butch Bleeds Blue

Cigi Sparks
Staff Writer

Its been 49 years since Butch Parker stepped into Maiden High School – he walked into the school as an eighth grade student in 1968, and he’s spent most of his life there since then. As of today, Parker steps into a new phase of life – retirement. 

When you think about Maiden High School, a few different things come to mind – the perfectly quaint town that the school is nestled in, the Blue Devils, former head football coach Tom Brown, and even Butch Parker too. Parker’s life has been ingrained in the town of Maiden – he grew up there, went to school there, and lived his life there. Now, at age 62, Parker says “it’s time.”

From his first day as a student to his final day as an employee, Parker has witnessed nine principals pass through Maiden High, worked under several great football coaches, watched the school upgrade to a brand new building and experienced huge amounts of change when it comes to athletics and academics — all while continuing to dedicate his career and his life to his students.

Although Parker won’t be leaving behind any material items at Maiden High (he’s already cleaned out his desk), he will be leaving behind something much more revered – a legacy in academics, athletics and community service. 

Parker’s Legacy in Academics 

Parker began his career at Maiden High School in 1984 as an in-school suspension (ISS) Supervisor, coupled with a role as an assistant football coach. Parker worked in this capacity for several years until the school decided that the position of ISS supervisor required a teaching license – which Parker didn’t have at the time. 

Following the change in structure at the school, Parker went to work for Heilig-Meyers Furniture. During this time, he traveled the country – but Maiden eventually called him home. 

In 1992, Parker returned to the school again as an assistant coach. Three years later, in 1995, Parker took on a role as the school’s Distance Learning Advisor. 

From 2003-05, Parker took a brief hiatus from Maiden High and served as the head football coach for West Lincoln High School. 

At the end of 2005, he was asked one question by former head coach Tom Brown – “Do you want to come home?”

In Nov. of 2005, Parker returned to Maiden High as a testing coordinator, working to ensure that all standardized tests were administered and submitted correctly to the school system. From this position, Parker moved back to serving as the school’s ISS Supervisor. In 2008, he moved to become the school’s Distance Learning Advisor for a second time – where he has served since then.

No matter what capacity Parker has served, he stands by the idea that “its all been for the students.” The legacy in academics that will be left behind as Parker retires will be one of positivity, love for the kids – even if it was tough love, and outstanding dedication to his “home.”

Parker’s Legacy in Athletics

As both a player and coach at Maiden High School, athletics have been a big part of the legacy that Parker has left behind at his alma mater.

As a three-sport athlete for the Blue Devils, Parker played defensive line for the football team and first base for the baseball team, learning as much in the classroom as he did on the field.

"(Academics and athletics) are the same to me," Parker said. "It all fits together. If you didn't have athletics about half of these kids wouldn't be here. They'd be on the streets. Athletics keeps a lot of good kids in school."

After his playing days were over, Parker wanted to remain around sports, so he started his football coaching career as an assistant under Kermit Whisnant at Maiden in 1984. 

The challenge of coaching was something Parker thoroughly enjoyed.

"I feel like my kids, especially the linemen, could hold their own against most everybody," he said. "We worked hard to get that way. I had some good ones. I was fortunate."

After a nearly three-decade stint as an assistant football coach at Maiden, Parker got the itch to become a head coach in 2003, leaving the Blue Devils to lead the football program at West Lincoln High School.

Despite the move, Parker was left with a void he couldn't replace.

"It really made me appreciate what Maiden had," Parker said. "I've always thought Maiden was special because I was born here. West Lincoln was a tremendous learning experience for me, not only as a coach, but as a person. I went down there thinking I could make them into Maiden. That was a mistake. They aren’t Maiden. I made a lot of mistakes at West Lincoln. I had a great time, and I have some tremendous friends to this day down there. It was an experience I don't regret. Would I do it again? Absolutely."

After a three-year stint with the Rebels, Parker returned to Maiden in 2005 and went back to coaching, serving under Tom Brown, Brian Brown and Frank Snider before stepping away from the sidelines in 2015.

Parker said all of the men he played for and coached under have all had a positive influence on his life.

"All of those people impacted my life immensely," he said.

Parker's relationship with his head football coach as a player — Tom Brown — has been extremely special.

"He is like my second daddy," Parker said of Brown. "He always looked after me."

No longer coaching, Parker remained close to Maiden's sports as assistant athletic director for the past couple of years, working with athletic director Caine Houser.

"(Houser) is so good at what he does," Parker said. "I respect him more than anybody at this school. He is dedicated. He is hard working. Our relationship is unbelievable."

Parker is proud to see the growth in all sports at Maiden High School, especially with the girls programs. 

"One of the proudest moments of my life was walking into Reynolds Coliseum this past fall and watching our girls play for a state championship in volleyball," he said. "That was incredible. It was special."

While Parker has been pleased with Maiden's athletic progress since the new school opened in 2007, he remains loyal to his old school roots at what is now Maiden Middle School.

"I love three-fourths of our athletic facilities, but I miss that damn old football field," he said. "It was special. It was just special with the feelings you got when you stepped out there. The people were right there. The other problem is the fact that this place (Maiden's new football field) hasn't been dignified with the name 'Thomas E. Brown Stadium.' It should have been done a long time ago."

Parker’s Legacy in Community Service

“I was watching ESPN one night – it was before they had all those contracts, so they had programming on all night, and there was something on about a Texas high school that had a club called “The All-Stars.” It was a club for student athletes aimed to showcase the students’ other talents off the field,” Parker said. “I saw that, and I thought ‘We've got a bunch of athletes who are good people. We can do that.’”

The ESPN programming led to the birth of Maiden High School’s club, Varsity Blue. Parker worked to establish the club at the school in 2000 with the help of Katrina Robinson, former teacher and softball coach at the school. 

The club accepts all student athletes, both male and female, with a minimum 2.5 GPA, and 85 percent attendance, according to Parker.

Throughout the years, student athletes from all walks of life have been a part of Varsity Blue – even ones who were a little rough around the edges.
"I think there is good in everybody, even the bad kids. Sometimes they just need something to pull them,” Parker said. 

Since its establishment, the club has held various fundraisers for community members in need, organized community events such as the Merry Maiden Christmas, and volunteered at Conover School for special needs students. 

Varsity Blue continues to volunteer at Conover School, interacting with the students and helping staff with events. 

"It was such a blessing. We'd go to their prom. Those kids love to dance. It was exposing them to other high school kids. It's been going on ever since,” he said. 

Parker’s legacy in community service that he’ll leave behind is one of simplicity – doing good and helping others. 

"That's been the brightest part of what I've saw and what I've been involved in here because you're helping people,” he said. “Everybody needs help. You can stand and say you don't, but you do. Getting young kids to buy into that is special. I just believe community service is major, and I think that society doesn't quite do it like they used to,”