David Parks has resigned after four seasons as boys basketball coach at Harlan High School.
Harlan compiled a 49-61 record over the past four years with four first-round exits from the 52nd District Tournament, but the Green Dragons did post winning records in two of the last three years, which Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent C.D. Morton said helps set up the program for future success.
“We always like to see our programs in better shape when someone leaves than when they arrive. Dave came through just at the right time and has helped Harlan High School take the next step,” Morton said. “He sacrificed a lot of time and was very giving to this program. It’s not often you find coaches willing to drive the bus to save funds for the kids, but he certainly was an ‘all in’ kind of coach. He took ownership of the program and poured himself into making it the best it could be.”
“Mr. Parks certainly poured his heart and soul into creating opportunities for our kids. If kids wanted to play in the gym, he would always make that available. He traveled across eastern Kentucky in the summers and has spent more time in this gym in four years than anyone I know,” said Harlan High School Principal Britt Lawson.
Harlan loses three seniors to graduation, including four-year starter Drew Parks, the coach’s son. Caleb Hogue would have also been a four-year starter but missed the first half of the season as he recovered from knee surgery, then had to miss the last several games when he aggravated the injury. Robby Curry, a starter this season at guard, will also graduate.
Returning starters include freshman wing Kilian Ledford, junior guard Noah Busroe and junior forward Trent McKenzie. Sophomore guard Paul Stapleton started early in the season before he was also sidelined by a knee injury.
Parks, a 1976 graduate of Cawood, was a standout guard for the Trojans who later went on to play at Kilgore Junior College in Texas and Lincoln Memorial University. He began his coaching career at Evarts as an assistant for Billy Hicks, then succeeded Hicks as head coach, leading Evarts to its last district title in 1988. After several years away from coaching, Parks returned four years ago to replace Tommy Hensley at Harlan.
“I appreciate all of the people who were a part of the program while I was there and wish them the best,” Parks said. “I truly have been blessed to have been associated with such a wonderful group of young men over the last few years.”
Morton said he was excited about the program’s future after the junior varsity squad posted a 14-1 record. Morton said the coaching position will be posted and candidates will be screened and processed for consideration.
“Selecting the next basketball coach will be something we take very serious and comes with a great deal of responsibility. This is a special time in the lives of these young athletes, who sacrifice time and energy for the program; we will take this endeavor seriously,” he said.
Harlan High School Athletic Director J.B. Donahue and Lawson will join Morton in setting a timeline for the interview and hiring process.
“We certainly appreciate Mr. Parks’ consideration of the timeliness of this announcement as it allows us adequate time to plan for the future,” Morton said. “We anticipate a couple of resignations at the end of the school year that will allow us to broaden our search for the next head coach. We are committed to ensuring that our kids will be able to participate in a full summer basketball schedule as well as ‘open gym’ activities. We are excited about the future of Green Dragon basketball and look forward to this exciting time of transition.”
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134