Editor’s Note: June is always a big month around high schools. There is graduation and the end of the scholastic careers for seniors, plus Father’s Day, which is Sunday.
During previous Junes, Tom Williams has turned over his column to Stephanie Gaitley, Matt Woolley, Jeff Boyd, Allison Rinck, Erik Geisinger, Doug Colman, Allie Moreland, Tracey LeFever, the Degenhardt sisters, Chelsea Bruno, Danielle McNally, Dave & Casey Beyel, the Donahue sisters and Shaune McLaughlin, among others, to write about their fathers.
This week, former Egg Harbor Township star athlete Scott Parker, now an administrator at Cedar Creek High School, writes about his father, Steve, a three-sport star athlete at Mainland, member of the MRHS Sports Hall of Fame, longtime youth and high school coach, dedicated golfer and veteran sports broadcaster.

A Father’s Day tribute to Steve Parker

By Scott Parker
Guest Sports Columnist

What is a role model?

A role model is someone whom you want to emulate and with whom you would be proud to be compared. My brother, Steve, and I work every day to emulate our father, Steve Parker. Since we can remember, he and my mother, Maureen, have done everything in their power to assure we were given every opportunity to be successful. It was not until becoming parents that we truly understood the sacrifices that were made.

The sacrifices began as a young father when he decided that his family was more important than pursuing a life-long dream of playing professional sports. After being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, he declined the opportunity so he could be a father to his new born son. It wasn’t until many years later when the letter from the Reds surfaced that we realized the opportunity that he gave up to spend time with his wife and child.

As a coach, he found undeniable success, winning five Atlantic County Junior League championships as the varsity coach of the Egg Harbor Township Orioles. To this day, his ex-players will stop us to tell what a great coach he was and what a difference he made in their lives. Many of his best friends today are young men that he coached when they were 12 and 13 years old.

When you are a coach, everyone can see the difference you make in the lives of your players. What many were not always able to see is what he did for his two sons. The core values that he and our mother instilled in us are still what drives us today. As we raise our own children, we strive to give them the love and support that we were given.

Our father’s work ethic is undeniable. For twenty years, he volunteered thousands of hours to EHTYO, started the now flourishing EHT Street Hockey Association and later was a volunteer football coach at Absegami High School and Oakcrest High School. Even while donating so much of his time to others, he always kept family as his priority.

Today, he enjoys his well-deserved retirement and continues to be a strong influence on both of us. He is the proud “Poppy” to five grandchildren.

Our father strives to emulate one of the greatest men we ever knew, his father and our grandfather, Ace. He often talks about what a great man Ace was. Well Dad, you are just like him!

Happy Father’s Day!

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