FOOTBALL: Parks in as new Blair coach

Former Verbum Dei assistant hired to replace Tip Sanders. Vikings also hire new volleyball coach.

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
Verbum Dei assistant football coach Gary Parks will be introduced as the Blair High School football coach today.
Parks, who was a quarterback coach at the Los Angeles school, will meet with the returning players this afternoon and with parents and the football boosters tonight, athletic director Gamal Smalley said.
He replaces Lavell “Tip” Sanders.
Sanders led the Vikings to a 9-2 record and a co-Rio Hondo League championship this past season. It was the Vikings’ best season in more than a decade.
“Tip got us going, and now we can see if we can build on that,” Smalley said. “The kids are excited. He’s a dynamic and charismatic person.”
Many of Parks’ fellow assistant coaches at Verbum Dei will move over to Blair, Smalley said.
The Eagles went 2-8 last season, but Parks, who has been a long-time assistant at Verbum Dei, has a CIF-Southern Section championship ring. Verbum Dei defeated La Salle for a CIF-SS title in 2006.
“He coached people who are in the NFL, people that our kids have heard of,” Smalley said.
“He knows how to get kids into college, and he’s willing to help tutor them, too.”
Parks was one of six candidates interviewed for the job. Two students sat in on the interview process and Smalley said after listening to Parks, they wanted to hire him on the spot.
The hiring comes on the heels of Smalley naming Andrea Richardson the volleyball coach. Richardson was an assistant at Blair last season.
She replaces Rich Huynh.
“I’m really excited,” Richardson said. “It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, but I know the girls really well, they want to learn and get better. I think we can get better.”
Richardson played at Cal State L.A. Her 2005 team finished third in the nation, and in her senior season in ’06, the Eagles reached the NCAA Division II regional semifinals.
The Vikings went 0-8 in the Rio Hondo League last season, 2-10 overall. They have not won a league match in more than three years.
“She brings a lot to the table in collegiate experience and in playing college volleyball,” Smalley said. “She knows what the college volleyball life is about, and it will be good exposure for our athletes.
“Coach Huynh is a big fan of her’s and he was really pulling for her to get the job all along.”

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