The founder of the men’s and women’s tennis programs at Shepherd University has died. Roger Parker, the man who coached Shepherd to five tennis championships in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), passed away earlier this week. It was Coach Parker who pioneered tennis at Shepherd after he had once been the head coach of the school’s football team for four seasons, as well as heading the shortlived cross country and track and field programs.
Coach Parker led the Rams to conference tennis championships in 1977, 1979, 1985, 1987, and 1988. Four of those teams went on to win District 28 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) titles. Five times, he was selected as the WVIAC Tennis Coach of the Year. While he was Shepherd’s tennis coach from 1970-1994, there were over 50 players to win individual WVIAC championships. He still holds the record for the most coaching wins in Shepherd tennis history. His NAIA District championship teams competed in that organization’s national tournaments in Kansas City.
Coach Parker was inducted into the Shepherd Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Shepherd tennis now has in place the “Roger Parker Classic”, an open tournament that was in its eighth year in 2011.
Coach Parker came to Shepherd after graduating from Romney High School where he participated in several varsity sports. His son, Chris, is the long-time head football coach at Clarke County High.