Dr. Don A. "Doc" Parham, whose name is synonymous with the tradition-rich athletic program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, announced at a news conference Monday that he will retire as Director of Athletics on July 1.
He will remain at the university in the office of University Advancement, working in the area of special projects fundraising.
Parham's retirement will end a 45-year career with Southeastern, including the past 34 as Director of Athletics. He is one of the nation's longest tenured athletic directors and easily the dean of Oklahoma's university directors.
Doc is also remembered as the architect of Southeastern's tradition-rich baseball program. He compiled a 532-162 (76.8%) career record, along with nine conference championships, seven district titles and three area championships. He led the Savages to three trips to the NAIA College World Series, losing the 1997 national title game 2-1. Parham was selected as the Baseball Coach of the Year by NAIA District 9 and Area III on several occasions.
"My years at Southeastern have been very rewarding,'' Dr. Parham said. "It is a great institution and I have been blessed to have been around so many wonderful people - students, faculty, staff, administrators, and, especially those in the athletics and HPER departments. While I look forward to retirement, my love for the university and Southeastern athletics will not diminish. I will always be a Savage."
"Dr. Parham is a true legend in the field of athletics,'' said Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Glen D. Johnson. "He has helped put Southeastern on the map nationally through the success of our athletic teams. As president of this university, I appreciate the fact that while Dr. Parham has always emphasized the need for success in athletics, he has also supported success in the classroom. In his 45 years as a teacher, coach and administrator at Southeastern, Dr. Parham has never lost sight of why our students are here - to get an education. We are grateful for his dedicated service to Southeastern for six decades and look forward to working with him in his new role at the university.''
A native of Atoka, Okla., Dr. Parham earned academic degrees at Eastern Oklahoma State College, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma State University, and George Peabody College (Vanderbilt University).
Parham has been enshrined in the Atoka High School Hall of Fame, the Eastern Oklahoma State College Hall of Fame (1995), the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame (1985) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame (1989). In addition, his baseball jersey (#5) was returned by SOSU in 1982.
As a student at Southeastern, Dr. Parham captained the 1952 basketball team to a conference crown under legendary coach Bloomer Sullivan. He would later serve as an assistant to Coach Sullivan.
Following three years of service at Southern Arkansas University, Dr. Parham returned to Southeastern in 1959 as Professor of Health and Physical Education. In addition, he served as Chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation from 1967 to 1996; baseball coach from 1965 to 1980; and as Athletic Director from 1970 to the present.
During his 34-year tenure as athletic director, Southeastern has produced outstanding athletic teams in virtually every sport. Over that period of time, Southeastern has had teams qualify for national tournaments in football, men's and women's basketball, softball, men's tennis, women's cross country, and baseball. A total of 66 conference titles have been earned under his leadership.
As athletic director, Dr. Parham led the University in its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II status some 6 years ago. Since that time, Southeastern athletic teams have earned 14 Lone Star Conference North Division championships, seven overall LSC championships, and 12 trips to NCAA post-season play. The 2000 baseball team earned the university's first-ever national championship, while the 2002 women's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Division II National Finals.
Dr. Parham is married to Kay Parham, a former librarian at SOSU, and they have three sons -- David, Brent and Warren.