By Kaitlyn DeHaven | Digital Managing Editor
Baylor senior lecturer in the department of journalism, public relations and new media Maxey Parrish received a huge honor on Monday as he was inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America’s (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame. Parrish is one of six new inductees.
From the beginning of his life, Parrish has been well-versed and invested in the sports industry. Parrish says that in his family, there is a legend that when he was about eight or nine years old, he asked his dad who the men on the sidelines of the basketball game were. After his dad responded that they were the sports writers, Parrish asked who the one running it down there was. His dad responded that the man was the Sports Information Director (SID), and Parrish responded with: “I’m going to have that job someday.”
After that point, Parrish dove headfirst into the sports world. He ran track for Baylor, became the assistant SID at SMU and then a few years later became the SID at Centenary College. Following that, he was the press officer at eight events for the United States Olympic Committee and staffed many professional sporting events, including 15 football bowl games.
Parrish said that he gives a lot of the credit for being in the CoSIDA Hall of Fame to his mentor, Bob Condron. He said Condron is the man who saw his potential early on and helped shape him into a professional.
“He not only taught me how to do the job, the technical stuff, but he taught me how to work,” Parrish said. “He instilled in me an attitude that I try to bring to work every day. You show up, you do your best every day. You put your ego aside, you grind away and you do what needs to be done.”
Another mentor who affected Parrish’s life in a big way was Bill Little. Little was the one who originally inspired him to get involved with CoSIDA and become a member. From that, Parrish eventually became the president of CoSIDA, and now, CoSIDA Hall of Fame inductee.
Parrish said these mentorships influenced his life greatly and presented him with opportunities he wouldn’t have had otherwise. He said one of the reasons he likes to be present and available for his students is because of the mentors he had in the past.
“Everybody needs somebody,” Parrish said. “Everybody needs a teacher, a coach, a pastor, a parent, a professor … Everybody needs somebody and I always tried to be that person when I could.”
After working with Parrish, Condron moved on and began working for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Through this connection, Parrish had the opportunity to work at the Olympics, where he gained experience that would impact the rest of his life.
During the 1992 Olympics, Parrish had his most memorable moment while working with an intermediate hurdler, Kevin Young. One day, while Young was in training, Parrish asked the athlete how his steps were. Young was surprised at the question and quickly realized that Parrish knew what he was talking about. He told Parrish that he was running as fast as he could and his steps were perfect. Hearing this, Parrish told him that if so, he was going to set the world record in the finals. That year, Young set the world record, which still stands.
“To see that and know it was coming was astounding,” Parrish said. “It was amazing in such a technical event, and because I was a track [runner], it was a meaningful thing to see.”
Parrish said these real-life events and experiences he has while out in the sports world give him a unique experience to share with the students. He said when he tells his students how to run news conferences like he used to at the Olympics, it makes it interesting.
Dr. Sara Stone, the chair of the department of journalism, public relations and new media, said that Parrish has always been a hard worker and a great addition to the staff. She said his strong work ethic, humility and dedication to accuracy, paired with his ability to teach and grow his students, is what makes him such a valuable member of the faculty.
“His ability to transmit all of that information onto our students is such a gift,” Stone said. “You can’t buy that kind of expertise. His practical experience is without a doubt one of the greatest assets that he has in the classroom.”
For students looking to go into athletic communications, Parrish offered said the best route to the industry is through internships. He said the hours are long, and the work can be hard, but in the end it’s overwhelmingly rewarding.
“Have a passion for the profession and the job you do,” Parrish said. “Have a servant’s heart because you’re there to serve the media. If you can bring those things to bear, then it can be very rewarding.”