Though Paul Parpet regrets never having served in the military like his father, Florian, and his brother, John, from sturdy physique to outdoor-voice confidence he projects attributes that come in handy in a scrap.
He brought the battle to the playing field, three decades as Addison Trail's first-class varsity football and baseball coach and freshman boys basketball coach.
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Parpet had already been in the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame for two years when Elk Grove beat Addison Trail 15-12 in the second round of the 2004 Class 7A football playoffs. While unfortunate for the Blazers, a signature statement emerged that Parpet holds dear.
"The reporter for the Daily Herald said Addison Trail was as tough as nails, and I think that describes what I tried to instill in our players, and not only physical toughness but mental toughness."
In baseball, where at the plate a 30-percent success rate is considered good, Parpet worked to build confidence from his hiring as Addison Trail's coach in 1990 to his 2010 retirement as coach and Physical Education Department chair.
"At Addison Trail we never mentioned the word, 'win,'" he said. "We always worked off the premise that we wanted to have consistent performances both mentally and physically and if you can strive to do that you can be consistently good. Trust your fundamentals, then you have a chance."
A catcher at Morton West and at Western Michigan, Parpet's had his share of premier athletes, Mark Anelli and brothers David and Billy Brechin among them. But he's not a front-runner. He supports anyone provided they give it their best shot.
"If you're an average athlete then be the best average athlete you can be," he said.
Respected by administrators, parents, players and coaches in both dugouts and on both sidelines, Parpet on Saturday will be inducted into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association at the Westin in Lombard.
He's been told he and the legendary Gordie Gillespie are the only head coaches inducted into both the Illinois high school football and baseball halls of fame.
"I'm very humbled, humbled and proud. I think anytime you get recognized by your peers that's the greatest accomplishment you can get," said Parpet, who credited the principal who hired him, Larry Weck, and former coaches Jim Mortier and Don Layne for their support.
Parpet will have a mighty entourage at the Westin, including his wife, Diane, five daughters and his son, Paul Jr., who succeeded Parpet as Addison Trail football coach.
Parpet is among many locals who will be recognized at the IHSBCA assembly on Saturday, including Lisle's Alex Ventrella and coach Pete Meyer as Class 2A player and coach of the year, respectively; 3A coach of the year Rich Janor of St. Francis; Class 4A coach of the year Robin Renner of Neuqua Valley; and the Daily Herald's Jerry Fitzpatrick as media relations man of the year.
Parpet will enjoy the spotlight, briefly, then head back to Wood Dale Bowl coaching Addison Trail's girls bowling team. He also continues to coach football as an assistant at Downers Grove North, and baseball as a Downers Grove South assistant.
He still enjoys teaching athletes to give it their all, no matter how tough the battle.
"When they leave school and enter the job market they have to learn how to compete," Parpet said. "Not everything is always going to go their way. It's how they handle adversity. Those are all byproducts, to me, of high school athletics."
Northwestern-bound Wheaton North quarterback Clayton Thorson has won the annual Red Grange Award. The Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 7A all-state pick passed for 2,809 yards with 29 touchdowns and ran for 567 yards and 12 scores.
Thorson succeeds 2013 Grange winner John Peltz; in 2012 the duo shared the quarterback position for the Falcons. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Thorson will receive his award in a ceremony on or near Red Grange's birthday, June 13, at the DuPage County Complex in Wheaton.
The DuPage Heritage Gallery presents the Grange Award to a player based on athleticism, scholastics and sportsmanship. It's fitting that Thorson, twice a unanimous DuPage Valley Conference pick, earned his team's Jim Rexilius "Proper State of Mind" award.
For those keeping score at home, Wheaton Warrenville South has 16 Grange Awards (Jon Beutjer and Jon Schweighardt shared it in 1998) while Wheaton North has 14. Dearly departed Wheaton Central claimed 6 and Wheaton Warrenville 5.
Illinois State football coach Brock Spack has hired former Glenbard West quarterback and running back Kane Keirnan as the Redbirds' offensive staff assistant.
An Illinois State recruit as an fullback/tight end, Keirnan's college career ended without a snap due to persistent ankle injuries and surgeries. He stayed with the program as a student assistant. After Keirnan graduated in 2012 he served as an offensive graduate assistant at New Mexico.
"I recommended him for the job at New Mexico and I got raving reviews about his work ethic there from his coaches," Spack was quoted in a news release.
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