Parcells Settles In After 1st Year As Medway High’s A.D.

Ken Hamwey, Staff Sports Writer
When the Medway baseball team defeated Ashland in the Division 3 South Sectional, that became the first post-season championship in the Jeff Parcells era.
Issue Date: 
July, 2019
Article Body: 

Jeff Parcells’ first year as Medway High’s athletic director, which began in February, is now complete and the veteran administrator is delighted his transition went smoothly. Formerly the athletic director at Sutton (three years) and later at Dover-Sherborn for the last four years, Parcells replaced Rob Pearl, who retired in January.
“Rob had everything in order,’’ Parcells emphasized. “And, to start in February was exciting. Our boys’ basketball team won the Tri Valley League’s Small Division title and got to the Sectional final. When they defeated Bellingham in their last regular-season game, they clinched the division title. But, they did it in spite of scoring only six points in the second half. That game in Bellingham was the best high school athletic environment I’ve ever experienced. There were two great teams and two big crowds. MHS showed great school pride that night.’’
Citing that atmosphere as the best he’s experienced speaks volumes because Parcells isn’t a stranger to sports or what makes an athlete tick. He’s been a player (Super Bowl champ in Uxbridge), a coach (19 years in football) and a guidance counselor (nine years in Sutton and a year each in Framingham and Leicester).
“To be an effective A.D. it’s a must to have been a coach,’’ Parcells said. “And, being a guidance counselor helps so much because you deal with students one-on-one and that role opens your eyes on how to handle kids.
In a job that deals primarily with budgeting, scheduling, purchasing, hiring, and evaluating, Parcells maintains the key to success “is being organized, approachable, understanding and communicative.’’
“If an A.D. isn’t organized, it’s difficult to manage your day,’’ he emphasized. “Another key is being approachable — to student-athletes, teachers, parents and the general public. Being understanding and objective are important because different issues crop up. And, communication is a priority. I submit a newsletter every two weeks when we’re in-season. It features athlete profiles, team progress reports and key dates.’’
Taking the reins at Medway makes it his third A.D. position but it seems like Parcells has found a long-time home. “The best part of being Medway’s A.D. is the town,’’ he noted. “Townspeople love athletics, and they provide great resources for the kids. Also, the student-athletes are excellent and they want to win.’’
Parcells admits that the most challenging aspect at Medway was arriving at the mid-year point. “I had to meet the coaches and the athletes immediately,’’ he said. “There was so little time to meet so many people. That was difficult but whether it was in school or outside, everyone has been inviting and welcoming.’’
Here’s a thumbnail look at a variety of areas where Parcells hopes to continue Medway’s prominence, where he hopes to begin new programs and where he plans to improve on the past:
GOALS FOR 2019-2020 — The fall season will be Parcells’ first time working with those coaches and athletes, and he’s aiming for a strong start to the school year.
“I want MHS to be known as a formidable opponent, for the athletes to be good sportsmen and for all our student-athletes to respect the sport they’re competing in,’’ he emphasized. The fall season sets the tone for the entire year and a successful fall will be a plus.’’
TEAM SUCCESS — Medway High won nine TVL championships during the 2018-19 school year. They included football, girl’s and boys’ soccer, volleyball, field hockey, boys basketball, boys hockey, cheerleading and girls lacrosse. The baseball team was the only squad to win a Sectional title, downing Ashland, 1-0, in the Division 3 South tourney. Parcells is hoping the 2019-20 school year produces a bit more post-season success.
INDIVIDUAL HONORS — Ava Vasile won the State title in the pentathlon in indoor track and the versatile athlete will be playing lacrosse at the University of Vermont next spring. She’s one of seven individuals from Medway who’ll be competing at Division 1 colleges.
PARTICIPATION — Medway High’s overall enrollment is about 750 students and Parcells was pleased with the number of boys and girls who chose to play sports. He lists 380 student-athletes in the fall; 284 in the winter; and 300 in the spring.
“I’d like our softball team to get more participants, and girls’ lacrosse struggles because some girls opt for club soccer in the spring,’’ he noted. “More participants in female sports and more in boys’ tennis would be a plus. And, I want all kids to feel they got an opportunity to compete and participate. We have one non-cut sport every season.’’
FACILITIES — Parcells rates Medway High’s three lighted turf fields and the Clark Gymnasium as “top-notch and amazing.’’ He’s also delighted that a new fitness center will open later this month. “An enlarged fitness center with new equipment will be another asset,’’ he said. “It was fully paid for by donations ($95,000). Lots of credit goes to Rob (Pearl) for starting the drive and to people in the community who got involved.’’
ATHLETIC TRAINER — Sean Powers has been fulfilling the trainers’ duties for 1½ years and Parcells is pleased to have him in that role. “Sean is student-athlete centered and he does a good job in promoting the health and safety of our kids,’’ Parcells noted. “He’s a certified athletic trainer and also a certified strength coach.’’
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT — Kelly Culcasi will begin her new role as administrative assistant for Parcells next month. “She’s learned many of the facets of the job and knows the drill.”
COACHES — Hiring Anthony Mazzola as Medway’s varsity football coach was Parcells’ primary hire during his brief tenure. The 41-year-old Mazzola was Tri County Vocational’s head coach for nine years and during that span his teams played in two vocational Super Bowls and was a South Sectional semi-finalist in Division 8. Other sports in need of a new coach are jayvee girls volleyball and junior high field hockey.
LEADERSHIP COUNCIL — A new program, it will begin this summer and attract leaders from all sports and all grade levels. “One task for this group will be to develop a new mission statement for the athletic department,’’ Parcells said.
UNIFIED SPORTS — It’s not a reality yet, but it’s a possibility for the not-too-distant future. It brings together athletes, with and without intellectual disabilities, to practice and compete on the same team, and it promotes building an inclusive high school community and to develop friendships among all students.
CO-OP TEAMS — This concept allows students from one or more schools to unite with a host team and play a sport at the varsity level. “It provides student-athletes a chance to play a sport that might not be available at their school,’’ Parcells said.
TRI VALLEY LEAGUE — Parcells has now been an A.D. at two schools that compete in the TVL, and he’s very upbeat on the circuit and its team of A.D.s “The league produces top quality student-athletes and it’s A.D.s make decisions for the good of the league, not just for their school,’’ he emphasized.