by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – “This community needs a win, and I have to deliver it to them,” Loveland High School’s Women’s Basketball Coach Darnell Parker said with his legendary smile. Parker has certainly become a big part of the Loveland community spreading positivity among his student-athletes and the cancer community. There’s no question that Coach Parker is a part of “What’s in Loveland’s DNA!”
Parker, who was born and raised in Findley, Ohio, grew up knowing that he “would have to work twice as hard as everyone else” to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish in life.
“My dad always told me that growing up and that always stuck with me. Seeing my mom and dad work so hard so that I would never go without ingrained in me a work ethic like no other,” Parker said when speaking about what he had gained from his parents growing up.
Parker, a born and bred athlete, started participating in sports at a very young age and almost instantly fell in love with the game of basketball.
“My dad was a fantastic athlete even getting an opportunity to be drafted by the Atlanta Falcons,” Parker said when asked about where his love for sports came from. Parker’s dad competed in football and baseball at Purcell Marian and then eventually moved on to play football at Defiance College, unfortunately succumbing to a leg injury that stopped him from moving forward in the professional sports world.
Parker pursued his collegiate basketball career at Bluffton College where he also obtained his degree in Business Management Administration. Post-college Parker took his coaching talents to West Clermont where he coached 6th-grade boys basketball for 9 years before making his move to Loveland.
Once Parker made the move to Loveland he eventually landed the LHS Women’s Basketball Head Coach position, and that’s when he began making history!
“I really couldn’t have chosen a better community to live in and coach in,” Parker said after reminiscing on his successful coaching career at LHS. Parker is definitely going down in history as one of the most successful LHS Women’s Basketball coaches of all time, grabbing the Eastern Cincinnati Conference Coach of the Year twice, leading the Tigers to 2 of the best seasons in school history, and coaching some very successful women collegiate athletes who have all broken school records at one point or another!
Unfortunately in October of 2020 shortly after Parker lost his father to COVID-19 complications, Parker received the news that he was diagnosed with both Liver and Colin Cancer.
“Telling my kids and my players that I had cancer was the hardest thing I ever had to do,” Parker said, “We cried it out and hugged it out and my girls really dedicated that season to me. They rallied around me.”
Fast forward now to 2022, Parker is now in chemotherapy and says he’s feeling good and that through all of this he has made the choice to make his journey one where he can encourage and help others going through cancer. “I thought to myself well I can either go into a shell and take it on myself or stay positive and share the experience with everyone and give those that need it support.”
Parker who has 2 daughters and just got married last year, says his future is looking bright and that he can’t wait to get back out on the LHS basketball court, which he says he will be transitioning into next week but will only be coaching home games.
After knowing Coach Parker myself for nearly 3 years I thought the start of 2022 would be the perfect opportunity to feature Coach in our “What’s in Loveland’s DNA” segment because no one can really deny the effect he has had on the Loveland and LHS community. I am pleased to present to you Coach Darnell Parker in a Loveland Magazine TV production of “What’s in Loveland’s DNA!” Click below to watch the full-length interview!
Here are some still photos from my interview with Coach Parker by David Miller:
Want to read more about Coach Darnell Parker? Check out Loveland Magazine’s past stories!
For more heartfelt stories stay tuned to “What’s in Loveland’s DNA” With ME, Cassie Mattia!
Columnist Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland. She is the Co-Owner, Associate Editor, and Director of Marketing for Loveland Magazine. Contact her if you are interested in promoting your event or business in Loveland Magazine. Cassie also Emcee’s events so feel free to reach out if you are in need of an Emcee for your next event, fundraiser, or sports-related competition. Cassie was just awarded the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance 2021 Young Business Professional of the Year. Follow Cassie on Instagram and/or Facebook!