Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jesse Parks 1951-2010

One of the greatest overall athletes to ever put on a Columbia uniform has passed away.

Jesse Parks ’73, who starred as a wide receiver for some of the Lions greatest teams in history, died suddenly in Atlanta this past Saturday of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Funeral arrangements are being made at this time.

Parks was a three-time All Ivy receiver for Lions, including that miracle 1971 season when Columbia came within a whisker of the Ivy title. In 1972, he was a team captain.

He came to Columbia from Classical High School in Springfield, MA. His father was a professor at Springfield College.

An outstanding athlete, Parks also was a star for the Lion baseball team and still ranks in the top 10 for triples all-time.

His greatest single game was probably the 24-22 loss to Princeton at Palmer Stadium in 1970. In that game, Parks caught seven passes for 120 yards and two TD’s. He ran for 36 yards and one TD. He also caught a pass for a two-point conversion.

But I’m guessing Parks’ favorite memories of Columbia football are connected to the thrilling 31-29 win over the great Dartmouth Indians, (as they were then called), in 1971. Parks caught a key TD pass in that game and was a key to the Lion offense. It was the only loss of the season for Dartmouth.

Parks played with, and earned the undying respect of, many of Columbia’s greatest football players.

They include Don Jackson, Paul Kaliades, Mike Evans, Mike Jones, and Ted Gregory.

I was able to contact Ted Gregory today and this is what he had to say about Parks:

“Jesse was a year ahead of me and an All-Ivy wide receiver and one of three Captains his senior year (Paul Kaliades and Don Jackson). I had to cover him every day in practice and he made me a better player. Jesse was tough – he would deliver as many blows as he would take during a game (or practice). He was unquestionably a leader – Jesse had his own way of doing things – his own view of the world and his commitment to that is what made him an amazing person. He was also my fraternity brother (Alpha Phi Alpha). He will be missed.”

Please feel free to use the comments section to add your thoughts and memories of Jesse.


At Tue Aug 10, 01:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Kevin DeMarrais said...

Jesse was also the recipient of the Lou Gehrig Scholarship at Columbia, funded by donations from a tribute to Mel Allen, the legendary Yankees broadcaster. It was a big deal back then and Jesse got to meet Mrs. Lou Gehrig at a reception in the president's room in Low Library. Jesse shared many of Gehrig's qualities, quiet and hard-working, a classy guy.

At Tue Aug 10, 06:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks, kevin

At Thu Aug 12, 12:57:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Green26 said...

Was sorry to see this when it was sent by a Dartmouth teammate. My condolences. While I knew Jesse only from playing against him and the occasional chitchat that a split receiver and cornerback would have, I always felt a connection to him due to our time together on the playing field and from watching him over the years on the Dartmouth season highlight tapes. I cannot recall any better (or more difficult to defend or more athletic) receivers that I played against. He scored a TD against us in the '71 game, which you won and must have been one of the bigger wins that Jesse had.

Jack Manning
Dartmouth '72
Missoula, Montana

At Fri Sep 10, 11:26:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one word to describe jesse smooth Doug Jackson

At Sat Sep 11, 12:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Doug Jackson said...

Jake i love your articles and this blog i just happened to stumble on it one day. thank's for the nice thing's you have written about me. Doug Jackson

At Sat Sep 11, 12:15:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Thanks Doug! Great to hear from you! Please consider doing an interview for the blog sometime soon!


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