Since the December departure of long-time legend John Ables as coach of the prolific track and field program at CHS, many locals have wondered about the direction of the team and who might become the new head coach of the fabled Padres.
That man is Shawn Parker, currently an AP World History and AP Psychology teacher at NorthMontereyCountyHigh School, who has won 12 league titles and four CCS titles as head track coach for the Condors.
“My goal is to be the very best coach I can be and to represent the tradition of Carmel Padre track and field,” Parker said via email Thursday.
Parker says that the Carmel program’s tradition of success is something that takes each individual participant to uphold and encourages all track and field members to take part in continuing this program’s legacy.
“It is a new era in CarmelHigh School track and field, and in this new era we acknowledge and praise what led us to this moment and look ahead to an even brighter future,” Parker noted.
Though some have voiced concerns that the absence of Ables at the helm might result in fewer turnouts for Friday’s initial practice, athletic director Golden Anderson believe the opposite will be true.
“Our program has had a long tradition of success, as well as a long tradition of having a large turnout of student athletes, and we look forward to that continuing,” Anderson says. “Carmel High’s administration has done a swift and flawless job of achieving a strong coaching staff, and now it is up to the students to join in with the new era.”
The sudden announcement during finals week that Ables was not going to be rehired was shocking to many; it even caused an appeal to the school board by CHS students and parents.
Following the Jan. 9 school board meeting, CUSD Superintendant Marvin Biasotti said that it is not the school board’s prerogative to hire coaches: “The board vests the process for hiring employees to the administration.”
CHS principal Rick Lopez admits that the “transition from something that has been around a long time is always difficult,” and he says he is glad Carmel students had good experiences with Ables, but the administration is going “in a different direction.”
The assistant coaching positions on the track squad had also remained vacant into January, but teachers at CHS have stepped up in the past weeks to take on these roles.
Joining Parker on the track staff are assistant principal Tom Parry, a Fresno State Hall of Fame hurdler; academic support instructor Ralph Ward, an accomplished sprinter; AP Computer Science teacher Clifford, a former athletic director; Coach Smith, one of the most competitive tri-athletes in Northern California; and Coach Galindo, who’s in the basketball Hall of Fame at North Monterey County High School.
And these are just the assistant coaches.