KEIZERTIMES/File photo

KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School officials are wasting little time in their search for a replacement for Isaac Parker, the current head coach of the Celtic football program.

Parker is leaving his coaching and teaching positions on Jan. 26 to take a job as an offensive coach and recruiter for Lewis & Clark College.

Principal Erik Jesperson and Athletic Director Ron Richards said they would be opening the position this week with the expectation of assessing the pool of applicants within the next two to three weeks.

“It’s a bit tricky because Isaac was also a math teacher and it’s a priority for me to have a coach who will be in the building,” said Jesperson. “The best applicant for the job may not be a math teacher.”

If all goes according to plan, Richards hoped interviewing could begin late this month or in early February.

“We’re looking for the best football coach we can find. I would like a coach with demonstrated success in leading a program as head coach or as a coordinator,” Richards said. “Our vision for all of our coaches is that they have four ideals as their cornerstones: support academics, develop character, provide leadership opportunities, and to compete at the highest level. Our new coach must support this mission.”

Parker said he’s offered to assist in the search but he’s leaving it to the discretion of Jesperson and Richards.

After arriving to the program with a long-term vision three years ago, Parker is leaving with it only partially completed. However, Jesperson said Parker’s vision was “spot-on.”

“Isaac is a glue guy when it comes to bringing people together. From organizing events like Blue Day to developing relationships with the feeder schools, Isaac has a way of bringing people into the tent. Continuing that will be a priority for any new coach, but we will also be looking for what the candidates can bring to our program,” Jesperson said.

Both Jesperson and Richards agreed that filling Parker’s shoes goes beyond the gridiron.

“Isaac is a great leader. He has created relationships across all boundaries and, specifically, with his players as witnessed by the feelings he has for his players and that the players have for him,” Richards said.