Parker's Oskaloosa team wins title

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The Oskaloosa Indians won the Iowa High School division 3A basketball championship March 8. Oskaloosa head boys basketball coach and athletic director Ryan Parker proudly accepts the hard-earned trophy. Front from left are Taylen, Ryan, Haylee, Brady and Renee Parker. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

A Guttenberg High School alumnus and Oskaloosa High School head basketball coach and athletic director reached the top this year. 

Ryan Parker and his high school team won the Iowa High School Division 3A basketball championship on March 8 in Des Moines before a crowd of 12,000 cheering fans at the Wells Fargo Arena. 

Parker, son of Julie and Jeff "Red" Parker of Guttenberg, has made Oskaloosa history with the win. 

Parker told The Press, "This was our second trip to the state championship games. Last year we ended up in second place with a four-point loss. This year we beat Norwalk, a regular season conference opponent, by a four-point win."  

Parker has a bachelor's degree from William Penn College and a master's degree from Emporia State.

After graduation he coached men's basketball at the college level for three years at Culver Stockton College in Canton, Mo., and spent six years as a physical education teacher, boys basketball coach and athletic director in Elsberry, Mo.

Parker has been the head boys basketball coach and athletic director for the past five years in Oskaloosa. 

He and his wife, Renee, reside in Oskaloosa with their three children, Haylee, 10, Taylen, 8, and Brady, 4.  

Parker has made three trips to the state tournament, once in Missouri and now back-to-back years here in Iowa. 

Parker described his coaching style to The Press, "At the high school level your coaching strategy is dictated by your team members. I had a 7' and 6'10" player on the team, so I chose a defensive style and to feed the post on every opportunity." 

A self-described "players coach," Parker commented, "I demand a lot from my players, but I also have a respectful relationship with the team." 

Two of Parker's standout competitors on the team are 6'10" senior Cole Henry and 7' junior, Xavier Foster. Henry is headed to UNI in the fall to play basketball. Foster is ranked in the top 20 in the nation for his graduating class. "Xavier has offers from everybody in the country," commented Parker. 

The Oskaloosa boys team was 19 and 5 in the regular season. Parker told The Press, "We had a better season last year at 23 and 4.  We graduated five seniors from the team. This year's team only had three players from last year's team who had played any significant minutes. Those boys showed up stronger, faster, more mature and grew into elite players."

Other Guttenberg alumni have earned coveted spots on the rooster at the state games. Adolph Kochendorfer, head coach of St. Edmunds in Fort Dodge, and Ken Spielbauer coaching his Wapello team are also members of this elite club. Guttenberg graduate Doug Hall  went on to coach basketball at the college level.

Parker said, "Adolph is well-respected in the state and has reached out to me. Last year Kenny and I both attended state at the same time which is definitely someone I look up to in the game of basketball. It was pretty cool."

Congratulations to Ryan Parker and the Oskaloosa Indians varsity boys basketball team!

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