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Parke committed to mending Pacers' reputation

The vice principal takes over the program and is committed in keeping coordinator Chad Carlson involved


Whoever took over Lakeridge head football coaching position this offseason was going to be under the a large magnifying glass next fall. After a first round of interviews left Lakeridge with a clear front-runner in last year's offensive coordinator Chad Carlson, ultimately the school was unsure how it would be perceived if the job was handed to him following last season's myriad controversies.

“We really wanted to keep (Carlson) around but we weren't sure if the board would support him. I've talked extensively with him and I'm confident in his abilities,” Parke said.

Vice Principal John Parke was approached midway through the process about the possibility of leading the program on an interim basis and, after a second round in the coaching search failed to yield an ideal candidate, Parke accepted the position.

“It was something that was interesting and exciting to me. There's definitely some anxiety but I'm committed to turning things around,” Parke said.

Parke is a former Division I football player for Cal State Fullerton and coached at the high school level in Stockton, Calif. but the school felt his biggest asset to the program might be his experience as the school's Vice Principal in charge of discipline.

Parke has made it clear that he is interested in having Carlson on the staff as well in a similar role as last season.

However, Parke believes that the difference will be that a clear chain of command will be in effect, something that was lacking last season.

“We have a lot to prove and I'll make sure we have the right people in the right places. I'm dedicated to the success of all of our coaches and players,” Parke said.

Parke knows that he, and the entire program, has its work cut out for it as the school looks to repair its reputation. But he is confident that none of the issues which cropped up last season, particularly issues with unsportmanlike conduct on the field, will occur again.

The hiring of an interim coach isn't new for the Lakeridge football program. When low numbers threatened to submarine an entire season in 2008, superintendent Bill Korach approached athletic director Ian Lamont about taking the job for one year.

Lakeridge finished 9-3 last year and 3-2 in the Three Rivers League and will return a strong core next fall.

“I've felt bad for the players during all of this because they're excited and really felt like they had a successful season,” Parke said.



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