Charlie Parker cut down his commute a bit and became a first-time head coach in the process.
The 32-year-old has been hired as the new head girls basketball coach at Duluth after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant with the Berkmar boys team. It’s still a considerable drive to his native Woodstock, but it’s slightly shorter and he gets to run his own program.
“I’m just really excited to have a head coaching position,” said Parker, who played high school basketball at Etowah. “I’ve been fortunate to work under a lot of good coaches and a lot of good staffs, most recently with Greg (Phillips) at Berkmar. I’m looking forward to implementing some of the things I learned from Greg and those other coaches into my own program.”
Parker, who helped Berkmar to three Elite Eight appearances, also has coached at Etowah and Southern Poly, in addition to being a student assistant at Kennesaw State. He also has coached years of youth basketball, including AAU experience with the Georgia Stars and Georgia Warriors.
He landed at Berkmar through a friendship with Phillips, who coached at Allatoona when the two met. A similar connection brought Parker to Duluth — he coached against Duluth boys head coach Eddie Hood back when Hood was the Central Gwinnett JV coach.
“(Hood) told me (Duluth’s) got some good, young talent coming through the girls program, especially the sophomore group,” Parker said. “They’ve got some good players coming back and I know they graduated some good players, too. … Coach (Chad) Pittman took it to another level and I’m looking forward to continuing what he started.”
Pittman was Duluth’s girls coach the past four seasons, compiling a 69-48 record and taking each of his teams to the state tournament. His 2013-14 team made the Class AAAAAA Sweet 16 and finished as Region 7-AAAAAA runner-up. He recently accepted the boys head coaching position at Chestatee, which is much closer to his Hall County home.
His final Duluth team graduated several top players in the frontcourt, but rising sophomore guards Endia Banks and Bree Dixon are set to return.
“It’s (Parker’s) first head coaching job and he’s enthusiastic,” Duluth athletic director Chris Kirkpatrick said. “He has a knowledge of Gwinnett County, the teams in it and how things are run. He came highly recommended by Greg Phillips. He’s eager and wants to do a good job.”
THE PARKER FILE
Name: Charlie Parker
New position: Head girls basketball coach at Duluth
Former position: Assistant boys basketball coach at Berkmar
Education: Graduated from Etowah High School in 2000; graduated from Kennesaw State in 2007
Background: Has been a Berkmar boys assistant for the past five seasons, helping the Patriots to three Elite Eight appearance; has served as the Patriots’ junior varsity head coach; also has coached at Etowah, Kennesaw State and Southern Poly; was a three-year high school basketball letter-winner at Etowah