The Rolla girls basketball team officially has a new head coach.
After Luke Floyd resigned three weeks ago, the search began for a new head coach and the Lady Bulldogs have their man in Charley Parker. Parker joins the Lady Bulldogs after spending the last six years coaching at Richland. Rolla activities director Mark Caballero is thrilled to have Parker on board.
"The three things that really stick out with Charley is that one he has really good head coaching experience, he's got a very good knowledge of the game and his formal training, he's been surrounded by great coaches that have helped in his learning and his mastering to become a very good coach," said Caballero. "He's really an up-and-comer. He really is."
Parker is thrilled to have the opportunity to expand his horizons after coaching at Richland and make the jump up to coaching the Lady Bulldogs in the Ozark Conference.
"When I saw that job open up I felt like I had to put my name in and see what would happen. It's always on every coach's mind to get as high as they can in their career and it doesn't get much higher than what it is at Rolla in the (Ozark) Conference," said Parker. "There's a lot of opportunity and things you can do with that group. They were 24-4 last year with a majority coming back. That's been on a lot of people's radars."
Parker coached Richland to a lot of success in his six years with the program. After a rebuilding season in 2013-14, Richland had double-digit wins in the following five seasons. He coached Richland to two District Championship games, as well as a District Title in 2018. Last season, he coached a lineup of four freshmen and a sophomore to 16 wins.
"We had a lot of success (at Richland), we won a District Title and last year we started four freshmen and a sophomore and we still won 16 games and beat some good schools," said Parker. "We had about the same style of play. We got up the court, we pressured in the full court setting and dropped it back into the half court and still got up into somebody and pushed the tempo of the game. I can bring that over to Rolla and continue to do what they did last year. They obviously had success, so why really change it? Just come in and adjust here and there where need be and keep building that success."
Parker isn't planning on bringing any sweeping changes to the Bulldogs, as they've already done a lot of similar things to what he did at Richland. But he is also the kind of coach that wants to play to his players' strengths. He doesn't plan on forcing a system that doesn't fit the roster he has.
"I feel like as a coach, you have to adjust to your personnel. You can't come in every year and say 'this is what I'm doing this year, I've done it for the last 20 years and I'm going to keep doing it,'" said the new Rolla coach. "You may have good bigs that you may have to slow it down and feed it to them in the post and you may have some quick guards that you need to keep the tempo up. With this group, you obviously have some good bigs and good guards, but your bigs are long and athletic as well and they get up and pressure. It's a diverse group of girls that you can do a lot of things with."
Coach Parker, who will retain the coaching staff at Rolla, has a pretty simple mentality coming into his first season. He knows expectations are high after Rolla advanced to their second State Quarterfinal in school history last season with a record of 24-4. His expectations are just as high and he plans on pushing this team to be the best they can be.
"I expect a lot of my team. I have high expectations and they should have high expectations. I'm going to put the best five girls out there that can help us be successful and hopefully I have a good supporting cast coming off the bench with them," said coach Parker. "Hopefully we can get this community behind me and the girls and do something that Rolla has never done."
Parker will formally meet the team and their families at 3:30 on Tuesday.