Longtime Arizona and East Valley football coach Jesse Parker has 309 career coaching wins, tied for most in state history.
Since resigning as head coach at Gilbert High in December, Parker has sought another coaching position. He is prepared to move on without coaching football next season, but won’t conclude his search just yet.
Q: If you don’t coach this fall, what would you most like to do?
A: I still have hopes of getting a job. If I don’t, I’ll take time off and discover how much my wife really cares about me. She’ll see me a lot more often.
Q: What’s your best coaching memory in 40-plus years of coaching high school football?
A: It’s a little hard when you’ve been involved in 400-something games. The championships you never forget. The game I’ll remember most is 1985 when I was at Mountain View and we beat McClintock. (Linebacker) Bob Davis’ performance that night was something. I don’t think anyone at that game can forget it.
Q: What’s the low point to date in your coaching career?
A: It would have to be the playoff loss to Horizon in 2001. It was a bizarre ending and loss. That’s the lowest I’ve ever felt as a coach. I felt that was the best chance we had at Gilbert to win the championship. The loss of our last regular-season game this last year to Chandler is right there, too.
Born: July 29, 1939
Status: Married, 46 years
Favorite movie: “Cool Hand Luke”
Favorite TV show: “Andy Griffith Show”
Last book you read: “Washington’s Crossing” by David Hackett Fisher. Washington crossing the Delaware
What do you drive: Ford F-150
Any superstitions: When I coached at Camelback I would pick up pennies before a game. I did that in 1974 before we played (won) the championship game. Painted those pennies blue and orange (Camelback colors).
Worst habit: Procrastination
First job: I was 9 years old and pumped gas at a filling station
A last meal: Southern fried chicken and potatoes and gravy
Something about you that would surprise a lot of people: I read a lot. Probably finish a book or two a month
Favorite athlete in another sport and in football: Mickey Mantle. In football Walter Payton.
Favorite city to visit: Washington D.C.
Food you refuse to eat: Cucumbers
Possession you can’t live without: I don’t have one.
Favorite item at fast food restaurant: Chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A
Your hero: Andrew Jackson because of his toughness; Abraham Lincoln for his many qualities
Bucket list: Travel around the country and see games in small high school settings in different states. See the different faces of high school football.