Coach Johnny Parker is not only one of the best Strength and Conditioning Coaches in the World, but also one of the most humble coaches in all of sports. He helped his teams win 3 Super Bowl Championships on the field, but he made an even greater impact off the field with his players.
After graduating the University of Mississippi, Coach Johnny Parker started his journey in coaching at Indianola Academy. He coached 10 years at the NCAA level, where he became the first Strength and Conditioning Coach in the Big 10 under Coach Lee Corso and Coach Bobby Knight. His time at the Collegiate Level included South Carolina, LSU, and his alma mater, University of Mississippi.
He worked in the NFL for 21 years, and helped the New York Football Giants win Super Bowls in 1986 and 1990 under Coach Bill Parcells. He then coached with the New England Patriots, followed by helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their first Super Bowl in 2003, and then to the San Francisco 49ers.
In the episode, we talk about a life changing moment while coaching basketball that set the foundation for his coaching career. Coach Parker discusses his time at the Collegiate Level, including working with Coach Corso and Coach Knight at Indiana University.
He then speaks about his time with the New York Football Giants, and shares insight into the the characteristics of the coaches and players that made those teams so successful.
We also discuss how trips to Russia and Staten Island, NY, made him a better strength coach for his players. As a way of giving back, Coach Parker, along with Coach Al Miller, Rob Panariello, and Jeremy Hall authored the book called “The System: Soviet Periodization Adapted for the American Strength Coach.” This is a book that contains decades of knowledge with a common sense approach to strength and conditioning. In the episode, he speaks about what the “Eye of the Coach” means, and how this perspective of focus and detail can help anyone looking to become better, as well as help their players improve on and off the field.
He discusses the role of mentors, and speaks about three coaches that made a tremendous impact on his career: Alvin Roy, Louis Riecke, and Clyde Emrich. In turn, Coach Parker has become a mentor to so many many coaches and players.
Throughout the interview, Coach Parker provides so many words of wisdom, from “toughness is ignoring the uncontrollables, dominate the controllables” to describing how the practice roof was the sky, and lifting weights outside because that is the conditions you play in, all reflect his outlook of hard work and laser-like focus. His humility and character can be summarized by his statement, “coaches have an opportunity to help kids believe in themselves, and that they can help kids dreams come through.”
Enjoy the episode.
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