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Former Comets baseball standout named region athletic director of year

Patrick Henry Community College Athletic Director Christopher Parker has been named the 2010-11 Junior College/Community College Southeast Region Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year (ADOY) Award recipient by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Parker and other regional award winners were presented their awards June 18 at NACDA’s 46th Annual Convention during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Fla.

The Under Armour AD of the Year Awards (ADOY) program, now in its 13th year, recognizes athletics directors who have shown administrative excellence within the campus and/or college community for the current academic year (2010-11).

Twenty-nine directors of athletics were honored. The award encompasses seven divisions - NCAA FBS, FCS, Divisions I, II and III, NAIA/Other four-year institutions and junior/community colleges. There are four U.S. regions for each division and one International region.

The Southeast Region of the NJCAA, of which PHCC is a member, consists of these states:  Alabama, District of Columbia., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 

Parker, a Halifax County native and former baseball standout at Halifax County High School, is in his fifth year as Athletic Director at Patrick Henry Community College.  He was hired to transition club sports at PHCC into Intercollegiate Athletics.

In 2008, Patrick Henry Community College became the first community college in the Commonwealth of Virginia to offer intercollegiate athletes, thus joining the National Junior College Athletic Association. Since then, PHCC has seen many successes both on and off the playing field.

In addition to Parker’s duties as Athletic Director, he serves as the Student Activities Coordinator and Intramurals Coordinator. He also teaches courses, oversees the fitness department, and served as the head baseball coach at PHCC for four seasons.

Parker’s background includes playing baseball for Hampden-Sydney College as well as for Virginia Tech, while receiving a Bachelor’s degree in the Science of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise with minors in Biology and Spanish.

In his last two years at Virginia Tech, Parker served as the Head Coach for the JV/Club Baseball team, which led to him being named Coach of the Year in 2004.

In 2005, he spent a season as a volunteer coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, while receiving a Master’s Degree in Sports Leadership with a concentration in Administration. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.

When Parker first arrived at PHCC, the college had only two male sports, baseball and basketball. In addition, PHCC had just folded its women’s basketball team due to lack of participants.

With the need to establish Title IX equality, women’s softball was started in the 2008-2009 season. The Region X and Southeastern District tournament was held at Martin Field for the 2010-2011 season.

A women’s basketball team was established during the 2009-2010 season and in the team’s first year of NJCAA competition, they competed for a national championship.  The team finished the season 25-1, with the one loss being by ten points to three-time defending national champion Kirkwood College.  The women’s team produced two All-Americans and two Division I signees, while Coach Tony Jones was named Region and District Coach of the Year. 

The men’s basketball team was the first team to experience overwhelming success. In 2008-2009, the team’s first year of NJCAA play, the team was ranked as high as number 11 in the country and won the Region X Regular Season title with a perfect 18-0 record, while finishing 28-6 overall.

During the spring of 2009, the baseball team, under Coach Parker’s direction, finished second in Region X only a half game behind Wilkes Community College, but still held the highest national ranking of eighth in the country.

In the spring of 2010, the baseball team was ranked as high as number six in the country and PHCC hosted the Region X District 22 Tournament in Martinsville.

This tournament brought much needed financial help to the area and created ample exposure to PHCC.  In addition to the team’s success, the 2010 season saw two players selected in the first player draft of Major League Baseball. 

Other enhancements to the PHCC athletics program have included an athletics website in order to establish a connection with the community and the sports world; the hiring of a Sports Information Director; the opening of Martin Field on the PHCC campus for the women’s fast-pitch team; the addition of a professional athletic trainer and doctor to aid student-athletic injuries; and a complete renovation to Collins Gym.  Additionally, an Associate’s Degree in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Studies was added to the college curricula. 

Not only has the athletic department succeeded on the field, but the 2010 class of sophomores had a 63% graduation rate and a 55% rate for 2011.  A total of nine student-athletes received significant scholarships to Division 1 institutions, while 82% of all sophomore student-athletes were given an opportunity to continue his or her playing career at a 4-year college. Academics are the top priority for all of the student-athletes within PHCC’s Athletic Department.

With continued growth of the athletic programs, PHCC has already announced the start of Men’s and Women’s Soccer for the 2011-2012 academic year.  Soccer is expected to bring in an additional 40-50 student-athletes.  Once soccer is established, golf may be examined as the next possible athletic team.

Overall, Coach Parker has raised over $300,000 dollars in contributions and in-kind gifts. In addition to these donations, he has worked closely with college administrators to restructure the weight room and fitness facilities that are used by Physical Education classes, the student-athletes, the faculty and staff, as well as the entire student body.