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|Vidalia recommends Parnham as coach|
The Concordia Sentinel has learned that Vidalia assistant football coach Gary Paul Parnham will be recommended for the Vidalia High head football coaching position.
Parnham will be recommended for the job at the Thursday Concordia Parish School Board meeting.
Parnham and Vidalia High principal Rick Brown cannot comment on the position until after the meeting.
The Sentinel learned that five applicants interviewed for the job — Parnham, former Natchez High head football coach Robert Raines, Huntington head football coach Chad Harkins, Cathedral Athletic Director and assistant football coach Josh Loy and former Huntington headmaster Anthony Palmero.
Parnham graduated from Vidalia High in 1987 after outstanding careers in football and baseball.
He received a football scholarship as an offensive lineman from Louisiana Tech. In 1989, Parnham transferred to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ar., where he lettered in baseball.
Parnham received his B.S.E. Degree from Henderson in 1993.
Parnham is currently the head girls softball coach at Vidalia.
If Parnham is approved, he will replace Dee Faircloth, who had been head coach at Vidalia since 1969 before announcing his retirement last December.
Faircloth, a Mangham High graduate, arrived in Vidalia in 1968 as an assistant coach to Don Alonzo. When Alonzo took the head coaching job at St. Aloysius in Vicksburg, Ms., in 1969, Faircloth was promoted to head coach.
Faircloth posted a record of 249-187-6. His 249 wins ranks 19th in the state of Louisiana. Vidalia High's football stadium was named after Faircloth in 2005.
Raines, who led Natchez High to the Class 5A semifinals in 1992 before losing out to Moss Point, was one of the applicants to replace Faircloth..
Raines was serving as Athletic Business Manager at Alcorn State before he was replaced in October when a new Athletic Director took over.
"I always thought Vidalia was a good program, especially since Coach Faircloth had been there as long as I have been alive," Raines joked. "I really wanted to get a cross-river rivalry going with them when I was at Natchez because it would have generated a lot of interest. Everything I have heard about Vidalia High has been good with the kids and the parental involvement. I was looking for that type of environment and really thought I could have done some good things with that program. I'm still hoping to get into coaching, but it seems everyone is hiring internally these days."
Harkins, who has been head football coach at Huntington for five years, said he would have loved being head coach at Vidalia.
"We live right there (Viking Street) and I see a lot of those kids," Harkins said. "I would have loved to have seen what I could have done in that situation. But loyalty is commendable and I certainly understand that."
Josh Loy, an assistant coach and athletic director at Cathedral High, interviewed for the position.
"I received a letter saying I didn't get the job and was disappointed," Loy said. "Vidalia is one of those special places. Coach Faircloth was there for 40-plus years and established a great tradition. The person who gets the job is going to be very fortunate."
Former Huntington headmaster Anthony Palermo also applied for the job.
"It's a great job," he said.
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