Interview with Head Coach Eric Parmley
By Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been in coaching? When did you start at DeRidder High School?
Seems like a 1000 Ha! I have been coaching for 32 years. I started at Derrider in 2006.
LAFM: What is the name of the first school you coached at?
Well my first job is an interesting one. I was a senior in college and projected to start at Center at Henderson State University the upcoming year. A freshman came in who was 6-4, 248 lbs, so I got moved to coaching the O-Line. I finished my senior year and went to coach high school in Arkansas. I coached with my dad at Leesvillle and Bolton. I went off to Texas for 1 year at Mount Pleasant. I then came back to Louisiana and became the head coach at Many. I went up to Ruston for a year, then Basile, and finally ended up at DeRidder.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching? Who or what influenced you the most?
I would have to say the major reason I got into coaching was my dad. He was the coach over their at Bolton High School for a long time. My college coach and him always made a point to say, “You can find a job or you can find a profession you enjoy doing. Just be careful if it is coaching because you will not make a lot of money.” I chose to do something that I love to do. My wife is in education and her family has an education background. We stayed with coaching and teaching.
LAFM: Is your father still coaching? Your son now coaches?
No, my father is now retired. I still ask him for advice and help. He had a great career and was a great coach. My son is my right hand and DC at DeRidder. I tell you what, it is an unbelievable blessing to have someone of his Caliber as my right hand. I do not say that just because he is my son. He has an exceptional mind and just does a great job. I tell people all the time that I might be the head coach on paper and get the interviews, but he is the one pulling the trigger and getting us doing what we need to do.
LAFM: Who are some of the best players you have ever coached?
The one that comes to mind right off the back is Deshazor Everett playing DB for Texas A&M. Deshazor was an exceptional athlete. Sam Peterson who is playing baseball at McNeese right now was a great football player. Sam was an extremely intelligent football player. Lastly, Daniel Lyles is fixing to graduate from Henderson State. He has played 4 years their as a DT. All 3 of them are from DeRidder and just great players. They made things happen which is the best thing I could say about all 3 of them.
LAFM: What would you like to see changed in Louisiana High School football?
Possibly, I would like to see us changed to NCAA rules. I do understand why we do not change to NCAA. Which is that we are not NCAA players.. For example, when you are blocking from a small FB and blocking on the edge you cannot go low. That is just one thing that I might change.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else? Does it help Recruits?
I think we have one of the top brands of football in the country. I think it is not just because of the great athletes and coaches, but the fact that we have spring football. Besides being a big promotion, it helps us at the end of the year for academics in school. It keeps the kids motivated. It gives us a spring board for the summer and the fall. As far as recruiting, spring ball is also great for recruits. It gives colleges a chance to see the players play live before their senior year.
LAFM: Do you feel like the offense/defensive philosophies differ between North and South Louisiana?
I think we have seen a big circle of styles all around the state. The game is always changing. I will say the one thing we emphasize here is blocking and tackling. It still comes down to blocking and tackling. I don’t care if your running the spread, a traditional I like us, a 4-3, or 3-4. It will not matter if you do not block or tackle. I think the game has evolved and will continue to evolve. The game is never going to stay the same, but if you do not block and do not tackle then you will never have any success.
LAFM: Do you think it is essential for a coach to adapt to different kids, different philosophies, and the evolution of the game?
No doubt about it. I am about as old school as they come especially with the offensive side of the ball. We line up in the I Back and here we come. Now, I will use the spread and shotgun. Still, I will get into a 2 back set out of the gun and run the same type of plays I have always run. I just give it a different kind of coating or different kind of dressing.
Yes, evolving to what your kids can do is a part of coaching.
LAFM: Who is your favorite NFL or college player of all time and why?
A snap answer is Peyton Manning. The Mannings in general are just a classy family and great role models for young kids. Peyton has always handled himself extremely well and is a great football player.
LAFM: Who is your favorite college or pro football coach and why?
It is tough to pick just one. They all have different strengths and philosophies. I guess what it comes down to is being fair and being honest with their players. As far as motivation coaches, I like to see the Grant Teaff types. You have the hard-nosed coaches like Nick Saban and Les Miles types. You have the brains types like Belichick with the Patriots.
When it comes to coaching one thing is for sure. As far as a unique, one of a kind idea goes, it does not exist. We are all just thieves. You have to be a good thief and try to find a little bit of what everybody does and try to plug it into your plan. I go back and talk to my dad all the time. The little ideas that come out of his mouth (he is not even thinking about what he is saying because it is just natural to him) are great ideas that I use. You talked to a young coach like Matt Viator at McNeese. You can learn what he does and what he picks up from his father.
LAFM: What makes Deridder High School a great school and great football program?
We have an excellent school system. The teachers care about the kids. It is a small enough community, yet it is large enough to be in the 4A ranks. We have great kids that care about their school. The School system, the kids, the faculty from the elementary and all the way up are really great. One thing that is unique here at DeRidder is that we are a one school town. Kids go from Kindergarten tofirst grade, Carver from 2nd to 3rd grade, Pinewood to the 6th grad, junior high and then high school all together. They grow up and stay together. I call it a one horse town. It is a one school town. The system, teachers, administration care about the kids and the kids know that. It makes the kids want to perform harder and better.