BLUE MOUNTAIN – J.D. Parker, who four years ago began the men’s basketball program at Ecclesia College, has been named the men’s basketball coach at Blue Mountain College.
Parker’s teams compiled a 64-55 record at Ecclesia, a liberal arts college in Springdale, Ark., and member of the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity at Blue Mountain,” Parker said. “I’m looking forward to every aspect of the job – getting to know the players, the school and the people who work there, and the entire community.”
Parker, 28, and his wife, Rebecca, have three children. He will replace Jerry Conner, who started the BMC program three years ago and recently stepped down to return to his home in Phoenix.
“Blue Mountain College is pleased to welcome Coach Parker and his family to the BMC community,” said Dr. Bettye Rogers Coward, college president. “Coach Parker brings the experience in intercollegiate athletics that will be an asset in leading the Toppers at this important stage in the program. He understands the mission of the college and the role of intercollegiate athletics in helping to accomplish the mission and vision of BMC.
A Magna Cum Laude psychology graduate from Lyon College in Batesville, Ark., Parker lettered four years as a point guard for the Scots and was an NAIA academic all-American three years. He also taught elementary school, and coached on the high school and AAU levels while earning his master’s degree in sports management from the University of Arkansas.
“The process of selecting a new men’s basketball coach has been difficult because of the high quality of applicants for this position,” said Lavon Driskell, BMC athletics director. “Having emerged as the one selected, says a great deal about J.D. Parker.
“Coach Parker has a proven record as a men’s basketball coach and is a quality individual. He has the knowledge and ability to take our men’s basketball program to the next level.”
Parker’s teams at Ecclesia showed steady improvement from their 9-17 opening season. The Royals were 15-16 in their second season, and in their third season he led them to a 23-11 record and a trip to the NCCAA national tournament. Ecclesia finished 17-11 this year.
The Royals were noted for their motion offense under Parker and he said he would carry that same philosophy to BMC.
“Of course, we’ll adjust to the type players we have, but we’ll basically run the motion offense,” he said. “On defense, we’ll play man-to-man the majority of the time with some match-up zone. It all depends on the players and on the flow of each game.”
Competing in the NAIA TranSouth Athletic Conference will be a homecoming of sorts for Parker.
“There’s not a team in the TranSouth that I didn’t play against while I was at Lyon,” he said. “I know personally how strong a conference it is and what a challenge it’s going to be. But it’s one we’re going to embrace.”
Danny McKenzie/BMC Media Relations