[UNC GREENSBORO MEN] Yet another legend of college coaching has called it quits. UNC Greensboro men's coach Michael Parker, the winningest active coach in Division I men's soccer, announced his retirement effective June 30.
Parker, 63, led teams to six national titles, three at Lock Haven and three at UNCG. Parker's six national titles -- five in Division III and one in Division II -- rank him first among active men's collegiate coaches. He is second all-time to the late Bob Guelker, who won seven championships at Saint Louis and SIU-Edwardsville. (He also won back-to-back USISL titles with the Carolina Dynamo.)
The 2009 season was difficult for Parker, who had been suspended from coaching at UNCG's game against Duke, a 3-0 loss. Assistant coach Justin Maullin ran the team in Parker's absence.
Witnesses say that Parker launched a verbal assault at players and a coach at UNCG's Southern Conference game against College of Charleston.
The Spartans finished with a 6-10-3 record in 2009. They also had a losing record in 2008 -- their first in Parker's first 25 years at UNCG -- but made the NCAA Tournament by winning the Southern Conference tournament title as the seventh seed.
"It has been quite a ride," said Parker. "What an opportunity to come to Greensboro 26 years ago. I never could have thought it would have been like this. We've had wonderful success during that time at a variety of levels. So many players have gone on to great careers both in and out of the sport. It is so hard to just sum it all up."
In 34 seasons as a head coach, Parker compiled a mark of 494-191-33, appearing in the NCAA Tournament 21 times. During 26 seasons as the coach at UNCG, Parker was 382-164-26.
Parker led the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament 15 times in his 26 seasons, including eight in the program's Division I era. In 1993, he became the first men's soccer coach in NCAA history to lead a team to the NCAA Tournament in all three divisions.
Most recently, Parker led the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament's round of 16 in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. In 2004, the program spent four consecutive weeks as the consensus No. 1-ranked team in the nation. The program was unbeaten in its first 17 matches that season on its way to a 19-3-1 mark.
BEGINNING. Parker took over for the late Mike Berticelli when Berticelli left for D1 ODU. UNCG had won D3 titles in 1982 and 1983 but lost in the quarterfinals in 1984, Parker's first year in charge.
The following year, Parker led the Spartans to their first of three consecutive D3 championships.
When he led the Spartans to national titles in 1986 and 1987, he became the first coach to win three consecutive NCAA men's national championships on any level.
In their gradual climb to Division I status, the Spartans were the NCAA Division II national runners-up in 1989.
Parker came to the United States in the late 1960s from his native England to get a master's at North Carolina. He was a graduate assistant at UNC in 1971 before moving on to Lock Haven, where he was an assistant for four years before becoming head coach in 1976.