Jones County Coach Retires

ELLISVILLE - In a dramatic and heartfelt fashion, Jones County Junior College head football coach, Parker Dykes announced today he would be leaving his alma mater and "home" of 14 years as the head coach, at the end of the month. 

While retiring from Jones, he will not be retiring from football.  Dykes has accepted the assistant coach and junior college recruiter position at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN.

"I will be joining two of my good friends, Dr. John McGraw, who is the team physician, and head coach Ken Sparks and I go a long way back," said Dykes. 

Sparks said, "We're really excited about Parker coaching here.  He brings a wealth of experience and he does a great job.  We want him to be around our kids because he has the kind of positive, Christian influence we need for our kids."  The Christian liberal arts college enlists about 180 young men to play football.  Dykes said he just wants to get a hold of a few of them and make a difference. 

"Instead of wearing seven or eight hats as the head coach here at JCJC, I will be wearing only one or two.  I'll be able to spend more time with my family."  The entire Dykes family, which includes his three sons, their wives, and three grand kids, will be joining Parker and his wife Jane in the Smokey Mountains. 

After coaching for 41 years, the 62-year-old said it was time for him to enjoy his family and life.  "I won't work in the summers, my duties will be lighter, and I'll be able to stay involved in something I love-- football and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I'll have more time to spend with my friends and family in a great place, surrounded by the mountains," said Dykes.  "It's time to let someone younger take over at JCJC and let them run with the ball."

One of his longtime friends and JCJC Board of Trustees Chairman, Mike McClellan played football against Dykes in high school in Jasper County.  Then the two played football on the same team at JCJC in 1961.  "The thing that stands out about Parker is the fact that he has the ability to inspire young men to be better people, Christians, teaching them discipline.  His leadership has caused a lot of men to be better men today," said McClellan.

McClellan was on the committee which hired Dykes to replace coach Elmer Higginbotham.  "Of those qualified candidates we interviewed, Parker was the only one prepared with a vision which he  implemented, and he did a great job here at JCJC.  The program at Jones has come a long way.  We're known nationwide because Parker was the president of the NJCAA Football Coaches' Association and he's taken us to four bowl games.  We're hanging onto his coat tails.  We will certainly miss Parker."

Dykes began his relationship with Jones County Junior College in 1961 as a student athlete.  By being tenacious and insisting that he could play football for Coach Sim Cooley, he was the last player chosen for the team. In his own words, Dykes said, "I  may not of had the skills Coach Cooley was looking for but my heart was in it.  I guess Coach Cooley thought I deserved a chance."  Dykes proved to be a good football player by being chosen to play in the East-West Jr. College All-Star game and he was chosen to receive an honorable mention All-State award.

One thing Dykes appreciated about Coach Cooley was the fact that Cooley allowed him participate in other activities besides football. As a student at Jones, Dykes was president of the College Choir, member of the Quartet, the V.P. of the Baptist Student Union, sophomore class president and member of the Student Government Association, participated in the theater productions, and he was chosen to be in the JCJC  Hall of Fame.

The Bay Springs native may be leaving, but he said Jones will always be one of the greatest things that ever happened to him.  "I got my start here at Jones and Jones will always be close to my heart."

OTHER FACTS & HIGHLIGHTS:

* Played football for the Bay Springs Bulldogs.

* Jones County Junior College honorable mention All-State football player.

* Played football at Mississippi College where he received the Danna X Bible Outstanding Blocker Award and was president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

* Earned both his undergraduate and master's degrees at MC.

* He was an assistant for three years at Forest, MS High School.

* Head coach for two years each at Ackerman and Monticello High Schools.

*An assistant coach at the University of Southern Mississippi, Arkansas State University, and the University of Richmond.

* In 1987 hired as an assistant coach at Hinds Community College.

* In 1992 returned to his alma mater, JCJC, as the head coach.

* During his 14 years, Dykes' teams have posted an impressive 92-50-1 record.

* Dykes has one national title in 1998, two state and Region 23 titles in 1998 and 2002, and four post-season bowl appearances.

* Professional honors for Dykes include being named Coach of the Year in 1998 by the MS High School Activities Association Junior College, the MS Association of Community/Junior Colleges and the All-American Football Foundation.

* He has held various offices as a member of the NJCAA Football Coaches Assn. including treasurer, secretary, vice president, president (2001-03) and past-president.

* President of the American Community College Football Coaches Assn. in 2004 and is presently serving as immediate past-president.

* Dykes is also very active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the local, state and national level.

* Inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame 2005.

CARSON-NEWMAN COLLEGE FACTS:

* South Atlantic Conference

* Mascot is the Eagles and colors are blue and orange

* 2005 moved into the brand new Burke-Tarr Stadium.

* The $3.5 million facility will be one of the top football venues in all of NCAA Division II

* Coach Sparks has brought to the Eagle football program- Five national championships, four national runner-up finishes, 18 South Atlantic Conference (SAC) championships and 20 NAIA or NCAA playoff appearances.

* Sparks has accumulated the best win -loss record and highest winning percentage of any coach in Carson-Newman football history.

* In 25 seasons, Sparks has a 243-57-2 record and has won games at a .808 clip. That winning percentage ranks him second in NCAA Division II among active coaches and puts him fourth among active coaches in all divisions of the NCAA.


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