Letter From Johnny Parker

Hall Of Fame S&C Coach Speaks Out Against Unprofessional Sideline Behavior

Recently, the CSCCa received a letter from Johnny Parker, an individual who has had a long and distinguished career as a strength and conditioning coach of both collegiate and professional athletic teams. Parker was inducted into the USA Strength & Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003, and was named a Legend in the Field of Strength & Conditioning in 2009.

In his letter, Parker expresses his concerns over some strength and conditioning coaches who he believes are dragging the name of the profession through the mud by their unprofessional gameday demeanor. Here is Parker’s letter, unaltered and published in its entirety:


Page BreakDr. Stiggins,

I am writing this letter because of a trend which is damaging our profession in hopes that you will take every possible action to bring this to a halt.

The trend I refer to is the sideline demeanor of Strength and Conditioning Coaches who make absolute fools of themselves on the sideline.

This behavior is reprehensible on 2 levels. One is that when so many coaches bemoan the fact that our profession is not viewed with the professional respect which it deserves.  How can we be respected when we have members acting like circus clowns and no one else—trainers , equipment managers , doctors , or coaches—behaves in an unprofessional manner.

As someone who has given my entire adult life to the profession, I am personally insulted by the actions of these buffoons.   Alvin Roy, Louis Riecke, and Clyde Emrich, who are the founders of our profession, made our position one of respect. The next generation, men like Al Miller, only strengthened the perception that we were professionals who brought great value to a successful football program.

We must not let village idiots undo the work of those who came before them.

My second concern is that tv cameras focus on this childish behavior and commentators praise these clowns as though their antics actually contribute to winning. This sets a horrible example for young strength coaches. They think this embarrassing behavior is a way to get ahead and to make a name for themselves.

Dr. Stiggins, I implore you to intervene with the television networks and ask them to please stop showing this behavior.

Thank you for allowing me this means of expressing my extreme disgust at this behavior which is demeaning to our profession and which threatens to undo what so many have built.

Johnny Parker

An old coach who still cares

Page Break

CSCCa members have always represented the best of the strength and conditioning coaching profession. While no one is perfect, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the vast majority of CSCCa member coaches are passionate about elevating this profession, and conduct themselves in an extremely professional and appropriate manner. This letter from Coach Parker is a reminder to all of us of the importance of public perception. It is incumbent upon the CSCCa membership as a whole to combat this type of behavior wherever it may be found. This will ensure that the strength and conditioning coaching profession is held to the highest professional standard and that member coaches reflect the core values and mission of the organization through their conduct.

Learn more about Coach Parker and his tremendous contributions to the profession by reading his bios on the USA Strength & Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame website and the CSCCa website.

We want to hear from you!

What are your thoughts on this sideline trend? How can S&C coaches find positive ways to show their passion and intensity on the sidelines? How can this type of unprofessional behavior be eradicated? Leave us a comment below!

Comments 5

  1. Well intentioned, well put and 100% accurate…I think our passion for what we do, our athletes and our chosen sports is extremely important but there’s no need to act the fool. To be respected, act as if you deserve it.

  2. Johnny is spot on with regards to this issue. The antics he points out is out of control, but is many times an extension of the coaching staff wanting it. I agree that motivating a player is one thing, many of us have done it. Doing some of the embarrassing antics is not necessary in the profession. I feel that if a player / team is not motivated by game time , something was not done well enough during the week leading up to the game. The young coaches coming into the profession are needing to understand some of the past and what we learned, how we learned it. Good mentors are the key. Many of mine, friends of mine gained so much from their mentors coming up. This is something that needs to be emphasized and continued.

  3. What a great reminder that those of us young in the profession carry not only our names but the names of those who paved the road before us. Thank you, Coach Parker. Glad to see you still are mentoring us all!

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