RAVNSWOOD – For 36 years, Doug Parrish served Ravenswood High School as the skipper of the Red Devil baseball team. He stepped down after last season and gave the reigns to his understudy Wes Swain, a former player of the elder coach and a passionate baseball man who will guide the program into the future.
On Saturday, Ravenswood High School honored coach Parrish in style between games of the Red Devil's matchup with Sherman High. Parrish threw out the first pitch of game one to get the festivities started.
A host of former players and coaches were on hand for the ceremony including former players from the 1999 State Championship squad, which was guided by Parrish, who also served as a physical education teacher for 40 years. The skipper's 36 year head coaching run had four other teams make the State Tournament in his storied and successful career.
Parrish was presented with a plaque that represented what he meant to the program. Coach Mick Price had a unique idea and put it into action. The plaque, made of wood, was taken from a tree that had fallen near Wright Field during a storm.
"After all of the years that he and that tree spent together, it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do," said Price.
Red Devil slugger Devon Crews presented a plaque of his own. A home-plate equipped with a chain, signed by the team that Parrish could wear around his neck which would serve as a groin protector. You see, Crews mashed a line drive last season that hit Parrish in that region of the body. The veteran skipper was carted off to the hospital via ambulance. Thankfully, Parrish recovered from the incident and he now has a trophy to remember it by.
Parrish showed a keen sense of humor as he laughed heartily and hugged Crews after seeing the contraption.
After a ceremony that also saw the coach score some fishing equipment to feed his passion for casting a line into water as he enjoys retirement, Parrish was quite emotional after the festivities.
"I'm just humbled and surprised by all of this. It's really hard to keep my emotions in check. Seeing all of these former players and coaches brought back so many memories of my time with each one of them. I feel blessed to have them in my life," said Parrish.
Based on the turnout at Wright Field to honor you, the feeling is mutual, Coach.