ROCKINGHAM — According to one of his Facebook posts last week, Keith Parsons had always said that if he ever won the lottery he would want to spend his free time teaching and coaching at a high school.
The first part of his dream hasn’t come true yet, meaning he doesn’t plan on claiming millions of dollars any time soon, but the latter will become a reality next month when Parsons begins his career as the head coach of the boys and girls golf teams at Richmond Senior High School — where he will also teach social studies.
The move was confirmed by Ricky Young, the school’s athletic director, this past Thursday.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Parsons said. “I played golf for three years (when I was) at Richmond and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Golf is just as fun as other sports … it’s a smaller group, probably a little more close knit, and most of the time team oriented — and that’s the kind of attitude I want to bring.
“I’ve had enough people around me who helped me make this happen, certainly starting with (my wife) Colleen and my daughters who were all in support of me making this career change,” he added. “I’m really happy to do it.”
Parsons replaces both Jeff Ingram (girls) and Al Reams (boys) as the head of the program, and will inherit a couple of teams that have a number of young golfers who showed their potential during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Rising junior Hailey Miller was the only Raider to advance to the NCHSAA Golf State Championships this past school year and is expected to help the girls team take that next step in the coming months.
Rising sophomore Jonathan Rich made a name for himself as the boys team’s top golfer this past spring. Rich — along with fellow rising sophomores Jaxon Mabe, Jacob Puckett, and Carter Richardson — will be at the forefront of the squad’s efforts next season.
“We have a really good returning players, which is great, and I’m looking for them to help us get going,” Parsons said. “We’re going to hold a meeting in the next couple of weeks to see who’s interested and then we’ll go from there.”
It will be the the second time in the last few years that Parsons will be a member of Richmond’s coaching community, as he acted as a volunteer statistician/coach for the varsity boys basketball team for two seasons (2015-17).
He was an integral part of former coach David Laton’s decision to make the change to a more uptempo style of play known as “The System” — which helped the Raiders break four scoring records in the state and finish the 2016-2017 season as the No. 1 scoring team in the nation (100.9 points per game).
Now, as he makes the transition from the hardwood to the green, Parsons is hoping to bring a different kind of system to a program that, he believes, can make some noise in the coming years.
“I look forward to getting out on the course and talking players through shots and helping them find a better way to approach things,” he said. “It’s really a lot of strategy involved in golf, from what I learned through years of play, so I hope to pass along some of those lessons I’ve learned the hard way to help make them better.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.