Bill Parks, former head football coach at John Tyler High School, passed away on Wednesday in Dallas, his family said.

Parks was head coach of the Lions from 1979 to 1983, leading JT to a 33-18 record and the 1981 district championship.

Services for Parks, 70, are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Stewart Funeral Home Chapel in Tyler. The Rev. Sam Fisher and Rev. James Dill will be officiating. Burial will be held at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Under Parks’ direction, the Lions defeated Longview for the 1981 district championship. They then fell in a hard-fought bi-district game to Richardson Lake Highlands on a last-second field goal, 17-14. Lake Highlands went on to win the Class 5A state championship that season.

Parks was on JT coach Corky Nelson’s staff in the early 1970s and helped the Lions win the 1973 Class 4A state football championship.

After Nelson left for Baylor, Parks was a member of his good friend Robert Finklea’s staff at JT. The Lions were unbeaten in 1979, sporting a 10-0-1 record. Their only blemish was a 13-13 tie with Plano in bi-district. Plano went on to the Class 5A title game.

Parks was born on Oct. 27, 1943, in Meridian. He played football and graduated from Cleburne High School in 1962. He then attended North Texas State University where he played football and earned his bachelor’s degree. He earned a Masters of Education at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Parks is survived by his wife Cathy Parks, of Tyler; children Holli Scelsi and husband Paul, of Plano, Kelli Shotts, of Mesquite, and Brad Shotts and wife Amy, of Mansfield; siblings Robert Parks and wife Janis, of Liberty Hill; and Jackie Parks and wife MaryAnn, of Cleburne; and grandchildren Stella Scelsi, Braylee Shotts and Blaine Shotts.

Visitation is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Stewart Family Funeral Home, 7525 Old Jacksonville Highway in Tyler.

If desired, memorials may be made to PATH, 402 W. Front St., Tyler, 75702.

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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