Tennessee's Parker inducted to Sunbelt Hall of Fame

Team Tennessee | Submitted photoTeam Tennessee baseball coach Chris Parker (left) accepts a plaque from Terry Meade (right) at the 2019 Junior Sunbelt Classic banquet. Parker was inducted into the National Sunbelt Classic Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Chris Parker was in for a surprise at the Junior Sunbelt Classic banquet June 6.

Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Terry Meade walked with a plaque in his hand to the podium at the banquet inside the Southeast Expo Center and announced the longtime Team Tennessee coach was being inducted into the National Sunbelt Classic Baseball Hall of Fame.

"It was just a overwhelming honor, very surprised and just a great honor to be a part of that," Parker said. 

Parker has been Tennessee's head coach since 2010. During that time, Team Tennessee has won Sunbelt championships in 2011, 2012 and 2016, and finished runner-up in 2010, 2014 and 2015.

"He's accomplished more than any one coach has done," Meade said after the banquet.  

Parker talked on Monday about ability, playing hard and having fun, but said character has been the key to the success for Tennessee. 

"Sometimes, there's a lot of good baseball players that we leave in Tennessee that don't come out here with us because maybe they don't have a strong enough character to represent us the right way," he said.

Parker said he has loved his 2019 Tennessee team and hopes to keep coaching his state in Sunbelt as long as he is asked to do so. It's something that he is excited to do.

"This game is like no other," Parker said. "It teaches us how to overcome failure and has to teach these boys how to become young men because there's a lot to be learned from that."

Contact Corey Stolzenbach at cstolzenbach@mcalesternews.com