Loveland HS girls basketball coach passes away after cancer diagnosis

Loveland HS girls basketball coach passes away after cancer diagnosis
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 1:22 PM EDT
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LOVELAND, Ohio (WXIX) - Loveland High School is mourning the loss of their girls’ basketball coach, Darnell Parker.

In 2020, Parker was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer, the Loveland City School District wrote on their website.

Parker passed away peacefully on July 24, according to the district.

He is survived by his children Alexis and Madison, and his wife, Samantha, who is expecting their first child, the school district wrote.

“Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time,” Loveland City School District Superintendent Mike Broadwater said. “Darnell was an amazing person and demonstrated tremendous character and determination during his battle. His enthusiasm and optimism were contagious. He leaves a legacy of leadership and grace in our community.”

FOX19 NOW Sports Reporter Jeremy Rauch talked with Parker in January of 2021 about his cancer diagnosis.

“You hear the ‘c-word’, and everything goes black, and some tears, because you think the worst,” Parker told Rauch.

Parker was admired by his assistants for his fighting spirit as he stayed on the sidelines despite his diagnosis.

“He’s so selfless that you can’t even really know he’s going through things,” said assistant coach Keith Braswell in 2021. “Everyone is always talking about how amazing he is to show the strength and fight.”

“He’s like a superhero,” assistant coach Brad Early said last year. “I don’t know how he gets that poison in his body. He hasn’t missed much practice. He hasn’t missed a game.”

During his five years coaching with Loveland, Parker earned numerous awards.

  • ECC Coach of the Year in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021
  • Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame Ohio Girls Co-Coach of the Year 2020-2021
  • ECC Girls Basketball Champions in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021
  • Overall record: 93-31
  • Seven total 1st Team ECC selections and eight total 2nd Team ECC selections

“The last basketball game he got to coach was a tournament game, and the kids played so hard,” Superintendent Broadwater recalled. “You knew that he wasn’t feeling great, but you couldn’t see he just smiled, and he was encouraging his kids.”

Loveland Schools said they have reached out to the girls’ basketball players to offer them support.

One of Parker’s former players, Rachel Yeager, says he was more than just a coach, he was a mentor.

“He’s obviously a role model for all of us, but it also shows you him being able to show up and be so positive and just be so encouraging for the kids,” said Yeager. “It shows you what his passion was.”

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