SHARONVILLE – Princeton High School made a splash in the preparatory soccer pool by hiring Andre Parker of Winton Woods as the next soccer coach pending board approval.
Parker has been the hugely successful Winton Woods head coach since the 2010 season when then-coach Troy Everhart stepped down and took up a position at the University of Cincinnati. The Warriors were the 2009 Division II champions with Parker as the defensive coordinator.
On Wednesday he had to say goodbye to a team while introducing himself to the Vikings and speaking to the current staff.
“The hardest decision of my life,” said Parker. “Just the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make as an adult. I look forward to being a Viking, I look forward to building a new beginning, and I look forward to building on this new tradition they have. “
Parker scored that season, leading Winton Woods to six post-season appearances, including two semifinals and a Division II runner-up in 2017.
His overall record as head coach was 77-30. The Warriors he coached include Dominique Brown (Louisville, NFL), Mike Edwards (Kentucky, who just won the Super Bowl with Tampa Bay), George Brown (Miami Hurricanes), Jerron Cage (Ohio State), Chris Oats , Kentucky, and David Long, West Virginia, Noah Listerman, Michigan, Miyan Williams, Ohio, Anthony “Tank” Booker, Maryland, and Andrew “Bam” Booker (Maryland Gray Shirt Commit).
Parker is taking on for Princeton alum Mike Daniels, the former Cincinnati Bearcat who recently took a job in Army Football. The Vikings were 19 to 20 years old for four seasons at Princeton, with post-season appearances in the last two seasons. The Vikings lost four games in 2018 due to OHSAA violations.
More:Anderson High School has a new mascot. What do you think it is
After spending a year as a champion in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, after years of independent independence in Winton Woods, Parker is now jumping into the middle of the Greater Miami Conference, one of the toughest public school leagues in the world.
“Part of the draw is that if you want to be the best you have to play against the best, you have to train against the best,” said Parker. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me and the program. I think coach Daniels has done a great job getting the program to where it is. He’s struggled with the players and the community.”
The 2019 roster consisted of three top 5 recruits from Ohio, with offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. and defensive lineman Darrion Henry-Young going to Ohio and linebacker Jaheim Thomas going to Cincinnati.
Last year’s 6-2 team also ran into some blue chips as Parker will inherit quarterback Mekhi Lynn and receiver Rodney Harris II. Lynn and Harris are both among the top Ohio recruits from 247sports.com.
In eight games, the 6-foot-3 Lynn led the Greater Miami Conference on the fly by 1,429 yards for 17 touchdowns while running for 358 yards and six points. The 6-foot-3 harris had 24 catches with four touchdowns. Both were offered by the University of Cincinnati, among others.
“The biggest difference is that I don’t know these kids,” said Parker. “They don’t trust me yet. No matter how talented you have, they have to trust me. I have to go in and tear down walls and earn their trust so they can play for me. They do.” I have to have talent and tradition. I have to be able to get in and build. “
Parker also says he hasn’t seen anything comparable to Princeton’s facilities. On Wednesday, he toured the Viking campus speaking to some of the current staff, which includes former Cincinnati Bearcat and NFL player Antwan Peek as the defensive coordinator.
More:Vote: High School Athlete of the Week in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, March 8th
“We’ll play fast and aggressively,” said Parker of his style of play. “We’re going to be really well trained, disciplined and physical.”
Princeton AD Joe Roberts says Princeton and Parker are due to open the season against Anderson on August 19th. He’ll be in Princeton’s building this fall.
“I think this is a must,” said Parker. “I think being the head coach is very difficult when you are not in the building. You will fail if you are not in the building.”