Michael Parker ’69
Inducted in 2019
“It wasn’t any mistake that Parker had the ball.” Peddie Hall of Fame Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Al Lozier’s words never rang truer than these following Peddie’s 64-56 victory over Bordentown Military Institute (BMI) in the 1969 NJISAA Class A Championship Game. Senior Mike Parker ’69 calmly sank four straight free throws in the late stages to ice the game at Lawrenceville’s Lavino Field House. Parker’s 22 points, including 10 of 11 from the free throw line, helped Peddie cut down the nets for the first time since 1957. The game also capped a historic career for one of Peddie’s all-time great hoops players; a brilliant basketball career which earned Parker, on the 50th anniversary of his graduation from Peddie, an invitation to join his old coach in the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame.
A day student from Hamilton Township, the athletic Parker stepped onto Peddie’s campus and quickly began patrolling the freshman soccer pitch and roaming the JV baseball field, eventually earning varsity letters in both sports. However, the basketball court is where Parker, a prolific scorer and tenacious competitor, would find his stride, sweet stroke and incredible success!
Despite facing constant double teams from opponents throughout his career, Parker became the second Peddie player to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Headmaster Kerr presented the game ball to Parker when he reached the milestone during a game in his senior year against Germantown Academy. In his letter of recommendation for college, Kerr wrote, “Michael is tolerant of the mistakes and whims of others, congenial in his association with people of all ages, and always cheerful and optimistic. Moreover, he adds integrity and sincerity to these attributes.” A natural leader on the court, Parker was also a leader on campus; serving as both an elected member of the Gold Key Society and a campus tour guide.
Teaming up with fellow class and court mate, Rick Cureton ’69, Parker captained the 1968-69 hoops squad to a 17-6 record which included three wins over rival Lawrenceville. After seven straight losses to the Lawrentians dating back to January 1964, the Falcons finally broke through on Lawrenceville’s home court for a hard-fought 68-65 victory. Parker saved his best for the third meeting that year between Peddie and Lawrenceville in the NJISAA “A” semifinals. Following a thrilling 53-52 win over the Larries, Coach Lozier simply stated, “Mike was the difference today.” Parker’s 24 points helped propel the Falcons into the championship contest with BMI.
Parker was named First Team New Jersey All-Prep for three straight years. As a junior, Parker averaged 20.8 points per game and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1967 Kingswood School Invitational Tournament. Finishing third in points per game to BMI’s Rich McPherson and Princeton Day’s Craig Page, Parker averaged 21.6 points per contest his senior year and finished the season as the area’s overall leader in points scored with 497 and made field goals with 195; including a single-game career high of 45 points against Princeton H.S. Parker completed his illustrious and prolific Peddie career with a total of 1,286 points, one state title and a clean senior-season sweep of Lawrenceville. After half a century, Peddie welcomes Mike Parker ’69 home to the Hall!