Parker leaves Blackman to captain Rocket baseball

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Chris Parker (center) stands with his Rocket baseball team after being introduced as the new Forrest head coach on Monday. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

In the end, it was about returning to the country for Chris Parker, who was introduced as the new Forrest baseball coach on Monday.

Parker takes over for Babe Hardison, who retired after 26 years at the helm of the Rockets.

"I grew up about five miles down the road, I think I am a country guy and there is a time to come back to the country," said Parker. "And I don't think you could find any better people to work for than Danny Morgan and Scott Delk."

Parker grew up in Farmington and graduated from Marshall County High School in 1992 with honors before attending MTSU.

Delk said about the hiring, "Parker called me after he found out that coach Hardison was retiring and expressed interest in the position. He has always had an interest in Chapel Hill, being from Marshall County. We have known Chris' track record at Cascade and at Blackman and he has done a great job, wherever he has been. He is a worker, he is dedicated, he is a program guy and he is the right fit for us."

While a student at MTSU, Parker had volunteer assistant coaching stints at Riverdale and LaVergne, before going to Warren County to start up the middle school baseball program.

In 2003, Parker took over for his cousin David Parker at Cascade.

At Cascade, Parker compiled an impressive 112-62 record with back-to-back District 9-A regular season and tournament titles in 2007 and 2008.

In the 2007 campaign, Cascade made their first ever state tournament appearance after travelling to Summertown, where they clipped the Eagles 10-9 in a sectional contest.

In Parker's last season at Cascade, the Champions won the Region 5-A title before being upset in the sectionals.

In 2009, Parker left Wartrace for Blackmon and captured the Region 4-AAA championship and a sectional win before going 1-2 at the Blue Cross Spring Fling.

The Blaze made region tournament appearances two out of the next three seasons.

Parker also coaches a high school 16-U travel team in the summer as well as Team Tennessee, an elite baseball travel team sponsored by The Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association (TBCA).

"I have coached a lot of baseball, coached a lot of great baseball players, and I have spent a lot of time working on fields and improving facilities," said Parker. "Just the past 18 years of experience I have as a high school and middle school baseball coach, I am going to apply all that here."

Parker talked about his expectations for Forrest, "I just want to be the best we can be, work hard and get back. I told these boys and the parents a few minutes ago, there is a lot balls with years of district championships, region championships and state tournament appearances on them and that is something I want to get back to. Re-fire that tradition that has already been laid by Coach Hardison.

When asked about coaching on the other side of the longtime Cascade/Forrest rivalry and not seeing much black and orange apparel in Chapel Hill, Parker smiled and said, "Just tell them, I am just like them now, I don't like it either. The only problem is if we beat them two, three, four times a year, I will probably be eating Thanksgiving somewhere else, so I will be taking offers for that."