(Photo Uploaded By Alan Cutts)
Jimmy Red Parker was the nineteenth Clemson head football coach and led the Tigers for four years, 1973-1976. Parker earned a BA degree in Physical Education at Arkansas A&M in 1953 where he lettered in football, basketball and track, as a running back-defensive back, second baseman-shortstop, and sprinter.
Hired to replace Coach Hootie Ingram, Parker enjoyed his greatest season in 1974, living up to the slogan "Excitement Galore, Clemson Football '74", with a 7-4 record, including all six home games as wins. He was named ACC Coach of the Year.
The Tigers went 2-9 in 1975, and 3-6-2 in 1976, however, and Red Parker was fired by the Board of Trustees at the end of the Bicentennial season. Athletic Director Bill McClellan informed Parker he was gone when Parker refused to fire his assistants. Parker's 17-25-2 record earned him a .409 winning percentage.
Parker opened Red Parker's Ice Cream Parlor in 1975 in the remodeled Texaco gas station building which sat on the tip of the intersection of the Old Greenville Highway and College Avenue. The business closed after Parker departed Clemson, and was eventually razed during the remodeling of that intersection.
Parker tells a funny story about his first head coaching job at Arkansas State as described by Joe Sherman:
I had just gone to my first coaching job at Fordyce, Arkansas, the hometown of Paul (Bear) Bryant, one of the greatest coaches in the game.
Fordyce is really a football town and all they could talk about was Bear Bryant this and Bear Bryant that and Bear Bryant the other. As a very young, very green coach, I was intimidated.
About the second day on the job, I was sitting alone in my cubbyhole of an office when I saw two citizens coming down the hall. When they were about 30 feet away, I grabbed the telephone and started talking, kinda loud.
"Now look here, Bear, I've told you everything about that offense that I can on the phone. And I've got work to do here. I'll try to get away one day and come down and explain it to you.”
By this time the two men were in the door and I held the phone away from my mouth and said to them, “I'm talking with Bear Bryant right now. Be with you in a minute.”
Then back to the phone. “Look, Bear, you'll just have to stop calling me during the season. You and Bobby Dodd are just about running me crazy asking about that offense and defense I'm using. I'll see you after the season and help you all I can!”
Then I hung up and turned to the two fellows standing in the doorway. “I'm sorry, I had to help Bear with a little problem. Now what can I do for you folks?”
They looked at each other and then one of them said, “Well, nothing, really, they just sent us over to hook up your phone.”
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